University open days are often exciting and fun-filled events, with giveaways, competitions, activities and live entertainment. But they’re also a fantastic opportunity to explore different campuses and courses, so you can make an informed choice about your future.
La Trobe student leader Chetna Rosunee offers the following tips to make the most of a university open day.
1. Get the lay of the land
It’s easy to get lost in unfamiliar surroundings, and finding your way around a new campus can be a bit of a nightmare if you don’t know where you are, let alone where you’re supposed to be.
Rosunee, who’s in her third year of a Bachelor of Teaching and Outreach, says taking a tour of the campus, facilities and student services and accommodation on open day can help make the transition a little easier.
‘Open days provide prior knowledge, so new students know where to look for assessments, timetables, placements and more. This can make it less nerve-wracking when commencing your studies.’
Make sure you also attend any open day technology tutorials or master classes to learn how to navigate a university’s online systems, including how to access student emails and find learning materials and activities related to your course.
2. Find the right course for you
Choosing what and where to study is a big life decision, and one that demands careful consideration.
If you’re still weighing up your options, open days can help you work out whether a course or university is the right fit by providing an in-depth exploration of the various faculties and subjects, as well as examples of student projects and course work.
‘Try to cram in as many of the course sessions as possible, because they will provide an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what’s available and expected of you as a student,’ says Rosunee.
You’ll also get a chance to speak to academics and current students, while gaining real-life career inspiration and industry insights from graduates.
Before you attend an open day, Rosunee says it’s worth checking out the university website and course guides so you can come prepared with any questions you want to ask.
‘Don’t be afraid to approach people and reach out to mentors from past years – they can provide great tips and advice for your course, as well as information about placement and disciplinary subjects.’
3. Get to know the campus community
Attending information sessions is an excellent way to get to know current and future students while learning as much as you can about the ins and outs of a university.
‘Information sessions can give you the opportunity to create connections with other students – and having some familiar faces from open day can help reduce the anxieties of your first day,’ says Rosunee.
They also offer practical advice and information to help you prepare for university life.
‘Student wellbeing sessions provide tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle during your time at uni, while welcome sessions are interactive events with students and mentors in the same course. Library sessions are worth attending, too, as they can provide useful tips on correct referencing formats and how to find reading lists.’
Rosunee also recommends investigating the student-run clubs and societies on show, as these are terrific for connecting with likeminded people.
‘Sign up to as many clubs as possible – it’s a window to meet incredible people with the same interests as you and form lifelong friendships.’
Joining a student society related to your course could also be invaluable to your career, particularly if they host events attended by potential future employers, such as careers nights and professional get-togethers.
4. Find out where a degree could take you
University is a place where you can broaden your horizons and gain real-world experiences, and many courses offer more than just classroom learning.
Whether you’re interested in adding an internship to your CV or want to spend a semester overseas, open days are your chance to discover what’s available through your course.
‘If a student is unsure of where to go with their degree, career seminars can help them to understand what careers are available, as well as provide information about studying abroad and placements,’ says Rosunee.
Start planning for La Trobe’s Open Day and check out the resources and opportunities on offer.