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How to navigate university open days for high school students

It’s that time of the year: universities are opening their doors, Tertiary Admissions Centres are taking admissions, and all the buzz is about what’s next in your education journey. We already know why everyone should go to university open days, but what if you’re not quite sure how to go about it? Well look no further – we’ve put together a comprehensive high schooler’s guide on how to navigate open days.

Think about what to expect

Whether you intend to attend virtually or in person, open days are a great opportunity to get a feel for the campus vibe, ask important questions about your intended courses, and engage with staff, students and faculty members. It’s a time for you to decide whether a particular university will be the right fit for you and whether they offer the best resources. Most university open days provide the chance to:

  • Take a tour of the campus and its facilities, including labs, lecture theatres, libraries, accommodation, and more
  • Sit in on information sessions tailored to specific courses
  • Talk to current staff and students – this is an excellent opportunity to ask questions about your course or campus life
  • Explore the different university clubs and societies – social clubs often have pop-up stands on open days, so be sure to check out any you may be interested in and make a few friends along the way
  • Watch demonstrations or participate in workshops related to specific areas of study
  • Collect as many freebies as possible! Unis love to hand out free stuff on their open days, so be sure to take advantage of any free merch or activities – you’re a prospective student after all

How to prepare for an open day

We all know that preparation is key, and no matter how badly you want to put it off, getting organised beforehand can relieve anxiety and help you make the most of the event. It can be useful to make a checklist of things to do and things you would like to ask before going to an open day.

Every year, we create an Open Day Guide tailored to high school students, which includes an open day checklist with everything you need to consider before, during, and after attending an open day. You can find this year’s guide in our Bookstore.

Make time to ask yourself these questions before attending your next open day:

  1. What courses and study areas do I want to learn about?
  2. Have I registered for the event yet? (In case spots fill up)
  3. Have I prepared a list of questions I want to ask staff and students?
  4. What facilities do I consider important for my study, and what aspects would I value most?
  5. What part of campus life am I most excited for, and will this institution be able to provide that?
  6. Will I need to explore any alternative pathways into uni?
  7. Are there any clubs or societies I’m interested in checking out?
  8. Will I need accomodation on campus?
  9. Am I interested in overseas study opportunities?
  10. Will I need financial support, such as scholarships or government assistance?

By mentally preparing yourself, you won’t go into the event without a sense of direction; instead, you will already have an idea about what’s important to you and the things you want to explore on the day.

How to feel more comfortable going to an open day

It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive about the first step into your future as an adult, and it can be easy to forget that everyone around you is going through the same emotions. There are a few things you can do to alleviate your anxiety about attending your first open day and make the experience what it’s supposed to be – new and exciting.

Bring someone along

Whether it’s a parent, sibling, or a friend, having someone with you will not only put you at ease, but will provide a fresh set of eyes and someone to help you ask the questions you need. Make the most of the fun together, and get a taste of the uni experience at the same time.

Plan ahead

Sometimes, having a clear idea of how the day will pan out can ease your stress. Plan your route and transport options, download the campus map to get your head around the layout, and have an idea of what talks you want to go to or what faculties you are interested in.

Lost On Campus is Australia’s biggest campus mapping app, and you can even use it to search for lecture theatres, offices, rooms, and labs. Printing out a list of pre-prepared questions can also take the pressure off so you don’t need to come up with something on the spot.

Consider attending virtually

If going to the open day in person is all too much, or if you just can’t get there, many universities now offer the opportunity to attend their open days online. By attending remotely, you still get the chance to experience what the university has to offer and obtain all the information you need. Plus, interactive elements are often optional, which can be a relief for those who struggle with anxiety.

Talk about it

You are not alone. Everyone experiences these feelings, and talking to a trusted adult can really help soothe your mind if you are feeling overwhelmed. They might have some tips for handling your anxiety, or they might have gone through something similar when they were your age.

Remember, everyone attending these open days is in the same boat as you, and it’s important to step out of your comfort zone to achieve the results you want. Plus, everyone is rooting for you – these open days are tailored to welcome new students into the world of higher education, so all the staff and students present just want you to succeed. You got this!

Most important: have fun

University open days are designed specifically for you, so go with the flow and make the most of it.

It’s easy to get caught up in the nitty gritty of preparing for an open day, but at the end of the day, just aim to have some fun. Experiencing new things is the best part of life, and this is an exciting new step forward for you.

Here at Study Work Grow, it’s our job to make life easier for you. We take the guesswork out of the transition from high school to uni and working life so that you can sit back and enjoy the ride. If you’d like to learn more about navigating your future study options, you can take a look here.

We’ve also collated a list of upcoming open days on our events calendar to make it easier to find and plan for upcoming open days – go ahead and check it out.

If you’re still unsure about what course you want to pursue, take a look at our article on 5 things to think about when looking for a course.

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