Each year, tertiary institutions (Universities & TAFEs) open their doors to the public to showcase the amazing and unique features they have to offer including courses, scholarships, student services, facilities, accommodation etc. Open Days are a real buzz with lots of activities including live bands, BBQs, competitions, information sessions, art displays and drama performances.
- Most (not all) open days are held on a Sunday during August / September.
- VTAC provides a comprehensive list – which is updated June each year. (Clue: check the date at the bottom of the screen).
- Or, try the Good Universities Guide – they provide a reliable list which is updated regularly.
If you are in Yrs 10 – 12, it is a great opportunity to attend Open Days as you will be able to gain a better understanding of the courses or career areas you are interested in; compare facilities and services between institutions which will help you during preference time; speak directly to a lecturer or current student in the faculty you wish to study with; find out about scholarships and also view on-campus accommodation if the institution has these facilities.
Further, attending Open Days will prepare you for courses you may apply for that require you to undertake an interview as part of the selection process.
There are a few potential roadblocks to Open Days worth mentioning. For students living away from institutions, it can be expensive to travel to and from the event and also pay for overnight accommodation. You could try calling the institution to see if they will partially fund your travel and even lunch for the day.
Melbourne Uni subsidises students who travel from rural and regional areas and Swinburne Uni subsidises travel and provides free lunch passes. You may also consider car-pooling with mates; check which other institutions are open on the same day and finding out if your school is taking a bus there. If you can’t get subsidised travel or car-pool with mates/ school you could contact your local Rotary or Lion’s Clubs and ask if you could apply for funding. It’s worth a try!
Another downside can be that Open Days are pretty full on and if you’re a bit shy or not used to being on a big Uni campus surrounded by lots of strangers, it can be daunting! The trick is to plan well ahead of the event so you can stay on track. Institutions often have event programs available online and your school may have copies so you can plan all of your information sessions, lunch breaks and accommodation and facility tours before you get there. The program should have the map of the campus available which will be crucial in preventing you getting lost.
Make sure you have a list of questions prepared for when you interview faculty lecturers about the courses you are interested in. This will ensure you get the information you want and you won’t forget to ask anything. A list of questions you may consider asking are included below:
Questions you might ask on your visit:
- What scholarships are available for students of this course/university?
- What accommodation (Residential, On Campus, Off Campus, Private etc) options are available?
- What careers does this course lead to?
- Do you have information on course satisfaction levels?
- What marks do I need for this course?
- What methods of teaching and assessment are involved?
- What core subjects does this course cover?
- What are the special features of this course?
- Which elective subjects can I choose from?
- Do I need any prerequisite (Compulsory) VCE subjects for this course?
- What other experience would be considered for entry into this course?
- Can I combine this course with one from another faculty?
- Are there quotas (restricted number of places) in particular subjects?
- Are there any other ways into this course, apart from VCE, such as TAFE courses?
- Does this course have any links with industry?
- How many students are in each class?
- How many classes per day/week does this course involve?
- What was last year’s Clearly-In ATAR score for this course?
- How difficult is it to transfer into another course once I have gained entry to a university?
- Can I defer from my course before starting, or take a break during the course?
- Apart from the advertised fees, what additional costs exist?