It’s November and College Open Days are in the diaries for many Leaving Cert students. Investigating a college campus is essential before making an application. College Open Days give students a glimpse of what life is like on the college campus. College websites and prospectuses are limited in what they can reveal. There is nothing like a real life experience to give you a real taste of what could be in store for you.
It takes bit of effort to attend a college Open Day so you want to make the most of your experience. Here are a few tips to help you to prepare and get all you can out of the day.
You can look up college open days on the CareersPortal Guidance Calendar, click here
- Research Courses
Find out what courses are available in the college in advance of the Open Day. You can access this information on the college website or using the search by college filter on Coursefinder. It is important to know the course offerings before you go to a) find out if they have courses that interest you, and b) attend the relevant presentations.
Read up on the courses that you like. Compile a list of questions you may have about the course and bring them with you. You may get the chance to talk to a lecturer or a student currently on the course who can give you the information you require.
- Plan Your Schedule
Most colleges will host presentations, talks or workshops during the open day event to give students a flavour of what they will be studying on their courses. Find out what courses are taking place and where and what time. Get a campus map so you know in advance where the talks are on. Arrive early for the presentation to ensure you get a seat.
- Download Map of Campus
It is a good idea to have a sense of the orientation of the campus before going to the open day. Find out where the main buildings are. Find out where some of the campus attractions are such as the library, gym, sports fields. You want to get a real flavour of campus life so it’s good to visit these attractions if possible, to find out what life on campus is really like.
If you intend on living at home when you are a student then why not do a practice run of the college commute. If you are given the offer of a lift then turn it down in favour of the bus/train/bike, or whatever way you expect to be travelling to college. It’s a great opportunity to see if you can hack getting two buses or if the cycle is too long. It’s a good excuse to experience what life would really be like travelling to and from college everyday.
- Go Alone
You don’t have to ditch the mates entirely. But when you arrive on campus be independent. Ensure you get to the talks that interest you and don’t waste time at a talk just because your pals want to be at it. Being independent allows you get to see everything that you have planned to see. You may not have time to make it back for another open day; get everything you need from this one.
- Gather Information
Take brief notes during the talks. Collect some relevant brochures/prospectuses and when you go home sift through these. Throw out the irrelevant information. Review the relevant material. Read what is important now. If you leave this task until a later date you will never get time to revisit it. Do it now.
Many students forget to make a plan after the open day. Review the courses that interested you again. Did you get more information? Would you like to apply for a course/s?
Identify entry requirements and 2018 points.
Review your Leaving Cert targets and see if the points are possible.
Look for similar courses in other colleges.
Research an alternative route to this course e.g. QQI Course
The CareersPortal Team