Heading along to a university open day but don’t know what to expect?
Here’s a handy guide that covers everything from how to prepare, what a campus tour involves, and who you’ll meet while you’re there. Open Day is an amazing way to ‘test drive’ your top unis, so ask ALL the questions, suss out all the facilities and just have fun with it!
A is for apps
Download any Open Day apps you might need before the big day. These help you build a schedule so you know where you need to be and when.
B is for be prepared
Research the faculty you’re interested in, make a list of questions about the courses you’re interested in (as well as uni life) and create a plan of attack for your day. We’ve got your uni open day game plan sorted over here.
C is for campus tour
Don’t miss this! A campus tour is where you get to check all the awesome facilities the uni has to offer. Scope out the lecture theatres, labs and the library, plus social spaces, accommodation and support services. Campus tours are usually run by current students from a range of faculties and backgrounds, and you can ask them all your burning questions about what it’s like to attend that uni and what courses might be right for you. Check out the uni’s Open Day website (or check their app) to find out where their campus tour starts from.
D is for directions
Make sure you download a campus map before you head to the uni. Campuses can be huge and tricky to navigate for the first time.
E is for explore your options
It’s nice to have a plan and a focus when it comes to your future study path, but try to keep an open mind on Open Day. Get the lowdown on multiple courses and pathways into them. There might even be courses you’ve never heard of before that could be perfect for you.
F is for fun
Sure, the campus will be a buzzing with all the informative stuff, but there will be games, competitions, performances and BBQs too. You might even make some new friends!
G is for goodies
Keep your eyes peeled for free merch, free food and free drinks!
H is for heaps of student societies
They’ll be everywhere, signing up members and sharing upcoming events. Student societies are an easy way to make friends with people who have similar interests, hobbies or passions to you – like STEM!
I is for industry connections
Make sure you ask staff about industry connections. These can be super valuable while you study as they can help set you up with a career down the track.
J is for jam-packed
There will be A LOT going on. Cram as much in as possible, but if you need a moment to take a breather that’s okay too.
K is for kick back
Speaking of taking a breather, why not try out the coffee at the campus café?
L is for lectures
Open Day lectures are a good way to get a feel for what uni is like, plus they’re filled with info on things like admissions, scholarships and different areas of study. Pack a notebook and pen in case you want to scribble down some notes the old fashioned way.
M is for meet academics
You’ll meet lots of current students on Open Day, but you’ll also get to chat with staff and academics. They’ll be able to tell you what they love about the uni and give you insider deets into courses. Don’t be shy, they are there to help.
N is for not just one uni
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! Try to head along to multiple open days, just in case your first choice doesn’t pan out.
O is for opportunities
Listen out for them while you chat away to staff, students and future students! They might have even have extra info on alternative pathways, scholarships or entry requirements.
P is for programs
On Open Day, you can usually find programs dedicated to STEM fields, where you can visit the facilities and talk to current students, lecturers and careers advisors.
Q is for questions
There’s no such thing as a dumb question. Get out that list of questions out and ask away!
R is for register
Some unis require you to register for their open days. If you need to do this, get on it ASAP so you don’t miss out.
S is for student union
Drop by the student union to find out about student support services, like study/career support and counselling), sporting clubs and student societies.
T is for transport
How will you get there? Bus? Train? Ferry? Car? If you’re going via public transport, look up times before the day and get to the station early. If you’re driving, suss out the parking sitch – if there’s nothing on campus, there may be carparks close by.
U is for uni life
Soak up the atmosphere. This is what uni life is all about (between lectures and tutorials). Is it for you?
V is for virtual
Due to #covidlife, lots of universities will be hosting virtual open days again this year. These are handy if you want to check out lots of unis but are unable to travel around to them all. Be sure to check the websites of all the universities you’d like to know more about to see if they are offering virtual open days.
W is for webinars
If you’re tuning into a virtual open day, you can get involved with webinars with staff and students, as well as virtual tours… All from the comfort of your home.
X is for X
While you’re discovering all the courses and programs the university has to offer, think about how your ‘X’ (or passion) could fit in to what you want to study (or how you can combine your passion with STEM subjects or degree).
Y is for you should take a friend
Having a friend or family member to bounce ideas off and get a second opinion from will be super handy!
Z is for ZzZzZz
You’ve asked a zillion questions. You’ve pounded the pavement on the campus tour. Your head is now filled with lots and lots of different study paths and options… It’s time to rest! You can ponder it all and hatch a plan in the morning.
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Author: Louise Meers
Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.