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How to get the most out of university Open days

Explore reasons to attend and how to prepare.

Committing to further study or upskilling is a huge step, let alone choosing a university and a degree. So how are you making your decision? Before you dive in, let us guide you through a few tips and tricks to help you choose the right path for you.

As a beginning point, it’s a great idea to browse the websites of the universities you are interested in. All university websites offer detailed information regarding their range of degree and course offerings. You’ll also get an idea of whether certain qualifications will align with your interests as well as your future career goals. After you come up with a shortlist of unis to apply for, you may still have some questions you need answered before taking the plunge. This is where open days can help.

So, what are university open days anyway? Simply put, open days are when universities and education institutions often open their doors to the public to allow you see first-hand what the academic landscape looks like before you commit to studying. They can be held in-person or online and are a great opportunity for you to ask questions that you need the answers to.

So is it worth it? Of course it is. With your dream job or promotion in mind, it is definitely worth the time to explore the essence of different universities and study options in more detail. Here’s why.

3 reasons to attend an open day

1. Find ‘your’ uni

If you are going to study for a few years, finding a uni that’s a good ‘fit’ for you is key. Attending an open day is the only real way to assess the cultural atmosphere and ‘vibe’ of a university. It’s important to feel comfortable in your surroundings, not just in your courses. Look back at how you liked to learn and study in the past. You may thrive on a smaller campus where you can feel recognised, or you might prefer a large city campus where you can blend in and be more anonymous.

Even if you’re planning to study online for most of your degree, attending a campus tour or uni open day can give you a ‘gut feeling’ that inspires you take the next step and apply. If you’re a parent, university open days are a great opportunity to gauge if a university can support both the academic needs and wellbeing of your child.

2. Find out what you don’t know

At uni open days, there is no better way to understand what you’ll be studying than to hear it from the lecturers themselves. Interacting with academics will help you get a feel for their teaching style and and give you an understanding of their expertise. You’ll get a glimpse into what your future learning experience might look like.

Open days are also a great opportunity to connect with student ambassadors and current students of the university. Learning about their experiences and unique learning journey’s will give you great insight into what uni life, and even certain degrees, are like, so don’t be afraid to quiz them. What are the best and worst parts of study at this uni? What is there to do in the local area? University is more than just the degree, after all, it’s a lifestyle.

3. Experience the difference

Study disciplines come to life at open days and there’s a good chance you will see certain professions in practice. At USQ, it’s not uncommon to be able to see our ambulance simulation lab, a broadcasting studio or a law moot court in action. You may also get the opportunity to test equipment or take a tour of lecture theatres, laboratories, accommodation options, and the library.

Each campus is different and open days also allow for practical considerations and experiences, such as travel logistics and what each location has to offer. Are there public transport options? Do I have to pay for parking? Can I live close to the uni or does it have on-campus accommodation? What food venues are available? Can I access library resources online?

How to prepare for an open day

If you’re planning a visit (virtual or in-person), it doesn’t hurt to prepare to get the most out of a university open day.

To collate a list of unis and rank your options, consider what you want from a university. Is it the quality of academic reputation, innovative projects and facilities, a guarantee that it will provide job prospects? Or that it has lots of sport clubs and social activities for you to expand your connections and have fun?

You can review the key dates for the uni to get a feel for when the university deliver their courses throughout the year and how this will fit into your life and schedule. If your dream degree is only offered on campus but you have a part-time job you don’t want to give up, what are your options? Can you still apply?

Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and you might want to speak with friends, family members, or teachers to hear their recommendations and opinions. But don’t let them sway you too much! Even if you have your heart set on only one uni, try to keep an open mind and attend a few open days before you decide.

You could collate a list of questions to ask at uni open days to pinpoint what you need to clarify.  A quick Q&A session can shed light on an important part of the university experience you hadn't even thought to consider. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What is flexible course delivery?
  • Are there any extra opportunities in the degree (industry projects or engagement, internships or placements, a chance to study abroad, etc.)?
  • What career options are available when I graduate from this degree?
  • Does this uni help me to find a job once I graduate?
  • How much do I need to study each week?
  • What happens after I apply  for a degree? 

Why attend a USQ open day?

So what sets the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) apart from the pack? At USQ open days, we offer a personalised experience and plenty of opportunity to engage with our passionate lecturers.  

From flying mini drones with the Engineering team, flight simulators and scientific debates about energy drinks, to taste test psychological experiments, and theatre workshops, come and discover first-hand why we are the top uni in Australia for graduate starting salary.  

Your university years can be some of the greatest of your life, but to be absolutely sure about your decision, coming along to a QLD uni open day to get a more holistic view of what to expect of your uni studies.