Choosing what you want to study after the leaving cert is a big decision, so you need to give it the right amount of focus early on in the academic year, before you get swamped with exam pressure! Initially it’s useful to do online research and work out what courses reflect your own interests and skills.
One good way to find out more about courses that might suit you is to visit a couple of colleges on their open days. Every year institutions open their doors to potential students, so you can visit them, take a look at the facilities, meet with the lecturers and admissions team and get answers to all your questions. You might also get a chance to talk with class reps. and current students and meet members of student societies to get a really good handle on how things work on the campus and grab your first taste of college life.
Getting along to an open day is particularly important if you are moving city to attend to a new college. Take time to explore the local area to give yourself a bit more understanding of the surroundings.
Generally, immerse yourself in everything that’s going on and soak up the college’s atmosphere….
College Open Day Prep
Your first open day might be a bit overwhelming as they tend to be pretty busy with lots of people milling about. If you are organised and prepared though, things will be a lot easier and you’ll leave with a better sense of the whole offering.
What can I do to prepare for the college open day?
- Find a list of the courses you are interested in at the college.
- Take a good read through the course syllabus and familiarise yourself with the content.
- Take plenty of time to view the college website.
- Why not follow the colleges social media accounts?
- Get a list of questions for both lecturers and current students.
- Make a note of the particular facilities you want to see.
- Work out the logistics – how will you get there; what are the public transport options, is there parking etc
Your goal is to narrow down your list of options to make sure you choose the right course for you.
If you’re still a little nervous or shy about visiting why not ask a friend or family member to come along with you on the day?[openday]
Start visiting some college websites and create a list of when the open days are on. Most college will hold a couple of open days between now and Christmas, so you should have plenty of chances to visit. As we mentioned earlier if you are in 6th year in school things will get probably get a little busier in the New Year as you focus in on the exams so try to get to the open days early on in the year. And where possible, do your best to make it along to the weekend open days, so you don’t miss too much school – it’s important to keep your attendance up, to get the best mark you can in your exams.
Quite a few colleges hold more open days in spring and again around leaving cert results time. Keep checking back on the websites for updates or signup for the college newsletter to register your interest and get notified about upcoming open days and events.
And remember – every college is keen to attract students so it’s really up to you to focus on your real interests, passions and abilities – to find the perfect course for your own ambitions.