I regularly have this discussion with students and parents about when would be a good time to start attending university open days. Basically my response is that secondary school students can go at anytime. I believe that it can be useful for students to start attending when they are in Year 9 and 10. It is an opportunity to get a feel for what university is all about to start gaining a sense of what students might like to do and look at the different options available.
Some students will already know what they might like to study or the field they might like to enter after secondary school whereas others will still have no idea. By attending University open days, it is an opportunity for the later students to potentially start ruling out what they don’t think they are interested in as a start. For other students they might decide that attending university isn’t for them and then start to investigate what other options are out there for them.
Last year when my son was in Year 10 we went along to a couple of open days with his mates. It was a great experience for them to start to gaining an understanding of what university was all about and to start having discussions around what it will be like in terms of them having their own independence and responsibility for their own learning. Whilst my son has an idea of what he wants to study, one of his mates didn’t and it enabled him to start getting more of an idea of what he didn’t want to do and to narrow down his areas of likely interest.
When attending open days, I encourage students to visit a mixture of different options and to go along with an open mind. It is an opportunity to get a broad view of different study areas and how each university may cater to your needs. It is important for students to not discount any universities before they have done their own research as they might be surprised to find the one they like isn’t necessarily the one they thought they may attend as it might be better suited to what they want to study or have the facilities or services on offer that appeal to them.
Students should go along and take the opportunity to ask questions of students, lecturers and tutors. This is particularly important for Year 12 students to ensure they are selecting the university and course that will suit them best. This way they will be better prepared when they have to submit their tertiary preferences. Students should ask questions around:
- what the entry requirements are and the pathway options?
- what are the subject prerequisites for entering particular courses?
- when the intake dates for courses are?,
- what the options are for future employment?
- what type of careers do their graduate go into at the end of their courses?
- how does the university help graduates with seeking employment?
- are their additional features or benefits available in particular courses ie internships?
Here’s a link to the 2019 University open days around the country – check them out and get them in the diary now.
Students should go along, check out the course options, the facilities and any other options/services to enhance the university experience.
There is no better way to learn more about university life or courses than by attending university open days – it is never too early or late to check them out!
If you would like to know more about how I support students on their academic journey towards university or future study or careers please get in touch to learn more.