Universities are the gateway to tertiary education and serve as a platform for students to grow through learning, research and experience. Soft skills such as problem solving, communication and teamwork are also added benefits that help students develop as individuals, and are indispensable tools when entering the working world.
What is an Open Day?
In Malaysia, universities hold their open days according to when school results come out, usually in March and August. This is when potential students and their parents can visit the campus to not only get a look and feel of the place but to also talk to lecturers and counsellors. Expect a crowd, but do not let this distract you from taking the time to speak to the relevant people who can help make important decisions. They will be ready to answer any queries pertaining to course structures, fees, scholarships, accommodation and career prospects.
Do your research beforehand (this applies to students and parents) and even if you have a clear idea of the course you intend to pursue, be open to suggestions and know that it’s alright to have second thoughts. Every university has different course structures, from being 100% academic to being split between academics and projects. Take a look at the subjects offered and familiarise yourself with the teaching methods.
Open days will also offer a campus tour, which is an integral part of the decision-making process. The average university course lasts between three to four years so it’s advisable to check out campus facilities and amenities. A conducive environment plays a huge role in education and sets the mood for what kind of learning experience a student has. Observe the surroundings and ensure that facilities are up to par. Enquire about details like student numbers, student-friendly accommodation (especially if you’re from out of town), and the state of the canteen, labs, library and sporting facilities.
Keep in mind that on open days, campuses are presented to look their best so look beyond the surface and remember that great facilities are important but don’t necessarily equate to the best educational experiences. As you walk around the campus, existing students and staff will be around so take the opportunity to have a chat and garner some insider information. Their views will give you a real insight into what to expect and more importantly, help you understand what it’s like to be a student at that particular university. The tour is also an excellent way to compare different campuses, how they’re run, courses offered and how they’re taught, career paths, past results and to even find out about alumni and how they coped after graduation.
And if you’re going with your parents / children, keep an open mind and remember that ultimately both of you need to agree on which university is the most appropriate according to courses offered, fees, location and facilities.