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UNIVERSITY OPEN DAYS: Look Beyond Banners & Balloons To Make The Best Choice

openday

In coming weeks, public universities and private institutions across South Africa will host a series of Open Days – events meant to showcase their offering to prospective students from the Matric Class of 2019.

UNIVERSITY OPEN DAYS: MAKE THE BEST CHOICE

An education expert says it is essential that learners intending to study next year attend as many Open Days as possible to ensure they make an informed study choice, but more than that, they need to go with a strategy in hand to ensure they look beneath the surface to understand what their likely experience may be at a particular institution or campus.

“This is a very exciting time for Matrics, who for the first time will be able to get some real-life insights about life on campus and what their future might be like in coming years after school,” says Wonga Ntshinga, Senior Head of Programme: Faculty of ICT at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education institution.

“So we advise Grade 12s to determine without delay when various institutions will be hosting Open Days – an online search will suffice - and then make the effort to attend as many as possible.”

Ntshinga says there are many benefits to attending an open day, including

1) to get greater clarity on an institution’s offering

2) to visit different faculties at an institution

3) to speak to representatives of the institution who will be able to help you determine which qualification is a good fit if you are still uncertain

4) to get a feeling of life on a specific campus and

5) to weigh up the offering – academic and otherwise – of different institutions.

But he says there is one thing that prospective students must remember when attending Open Days, and that is to keep a level head and not get too starry-eyed by the fanfare of the day.

“Open Days are the perfect opportunity to get first-hand experience of a campus and its students, staff and academics. But the first rule of Open Day is to remember that Open Day might not be representative of every other day. Universities put their best foot forward to impress and attract future students, but you have to be savvy and ask the right questions, as well as make the observations that will help you with this major decision.”

Ntshinga says prospective students should spend enough time on a campus to get a good look around, and listen to their gut feel while doing so.

“Look at the campus grounds, visit the library and the IT lab, note the condition of sports facilities, lecture rooms and even the toilets. If, for instance, an institution’s restrooms are questionable on an Open Day, chances are that they will be the same or worse during the rest of the year.

“If lecture rooms and the general environment look tired, dilapidated and unkept on this day, it is unlikely they will look better any other day of the year.”

If you get a good feeling about what you observe on campus, the Open Day then presents an opportunity to ask the important questions of university representatives, to gauge whether your degree will help you make a smooth transition to the workplace post-graduation, Ntshinga says.

READ HERE: Do You Know The University Application Closing Dates For Study In 2019 - 2020

To make that determination, learners should ask the following:

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