7 Tips for Success for Open Days

Open Days are coming up and that means that it’s time to think about which courses you want to apply to. Open days are great ways to get to know the university and course you want to apply to better. You get to see the campus, talk to current students, and ask questions.

It’s good to see the campus so you can decide if that’s what you really want. In this blog post, we’re going to give a few top tips for open days so you can utilise them efficiently.

List of Upcoming Open Days 2019:

Note: This is not an exhaustive list. Keep in mind that there are other great universities and ITs further from Kerry. UCC and NUIG have already had their open days, but NUIG has ones in March as well.

1. Narrow down which universities you want to visit

Take a look at the calendar and see when the open days are for the different universities and plan which ones you want to go and see. Even in a country as small as Ireland, you can’t see all the universities, so you’ll need to edit down your list and figure out how you can make all those university visits work in your schedule. You may also need to book early because spaces are limited, especially for certain talks or events going on. So plan smart.

2. Do research and write up a few questions

With the internet, you will have plenty of information. Google your questions first and see if they’ve already been answered. If they haven’t, write them down in a notebook and bring them with you to the open day to ask. Bring a pen with you to the open day in case you have more questions and so you can write down the answer to your question. It’s always good to have questions ready.

Here are some ideas of questions to ask:

  • What Leaving Cert subjects you’ll need
  • If there are any extra requirements to apply to the course (auditions, portfolios, interviews)
  • What modules will you take
  • What format are the modules (lecture, lab, tutorial, independent study, seminar)
  • How many students in a module
  • What supports are there for those struggling in their classes (like a writing, maths, or science learning centre)
  • Co-op/internship opportunities
  • What jobs graduates have gotten
  • Which universities are partner universities for Erasmus/study abroad
  • Postgrad opportunities

3. Take a look at what’s going on

Go to the university’s website and see what events, talks, tours, and information stands will be on. Mark what you want to see. You might want to go to talks about the degrees you’re interested in, tours of the library and student accommodation, and the general campus tour. On open days you may be able to find out about different clubs and societies, support programmes (SUSI and disability support services), and Erasmus.

Don’t worry if you’re a bit confused about the layout of the campus. You’re in a new and unfamiliar place and a lot of people are feeling the same way as you. For example, UL’s Main Building has a confusing layout that even confuses students that have been there for a while.

4. Don’t just talk to staff, talk to students

You’ll want to get different perspectives and the current students will know the university and their course best. They’ll know what the student accommodations are like, how noisy they get, if you can decorate the rooms, how crowded accommodations are, how happy they are with the course and the university, which staff are most helpful, what co-op is like, what Erasmus is like, what the busiest times for the restaurants and library are, which restaurants are the best, which lecturers are the best, what there is to do in town, etc.

5. Go with a friend or family member

It can be daunting going somewhere new on your own so bring a friend or family member. They can help you come up with questions, save a seat for you, get you food and snacks, make you feel more confident, help you figure out the map. They can also help you make the best decision for you.

6. Check out the town/city, if travelling independently

If you are visiting universities on your own, you also should also check out the town because you’ll want to know what’s there: restaurants, pubs, clubs, markets, shops. How you’ll get to town – if there’s a bus. You should get an idea of how far student accommodations are.

If you are going to an open day with your school, this will not be possible, but if after an open day, you’ve decided that university is on your shortlist, it might be worth organising a trip with your family to see the town and see if it’s a good fit for you.

7. Reflect: Compare and Contrast

When you come home, think about the different universities you visited and the courses you learnt about. Take some time to reflect on the open days you attended. Compare and contrast the options and write up the list of pros and cons so you can decide how you’re going to rank the courses you’re applying to. Keep an eye on social media because most universities and some individual departments have Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram.

We hope these tips help you when you go to university open days, because they’re a great way of getting to know the courses and the university better.

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