In the coming weeks, public universities and private institutions across South Africa will host a series of open days – events meant to showcase their offerings to prospective students from the matric class of 2019.
Education experts advise learners who intend to study next year to attend as many open days as possible to ensure they make the most informed study choice.
But more than just attending, learners need to approach the open days with a strategy and ensure they look beneath the surface and get a real understanding of what their experience a particular institution or campus is likely to be.
“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,” said Wonga Ntshinga, senior head of programme of the ICT faculty at The Independent Institute of Education
“We advise Grade 12s to determine without delay when various institutions will be hosting open days – an online search will suffice – and then make an effort to attend as many as possible.”
Ntshinga further explained that there are many benefits to attending an open day.
These benefits include:
1. Gaining greater clarity on each institution’s offerings.
2. A chance to visit different faculties at an institution.
3. A chance to speak to representatives of the institution who will be able to help you determine which qualification is a good fit for you – if you are still uncertain.
4. A chance to get a feeling of life on a specific campus.
5. A chance to weigh up the offerings – academic and otherwise – of different institutions.
“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,” Ntshinga said.
“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 days is to remember that an open day might not be a clear representation of every other day.
“Universities put their best foot forward to impress and attract future students on these days, so you have to be savvy and ask the right questions.”
Ntshinga further advised prospective students to spend a good amount of time on a campus to have a good look around and listen to their gut feel while doing so.