University open days: Questions worth asking

If you’ve wandered past any university campus in recent weeks, you may have noticed a flurry of activity, and perhaps an army of parents and high school students making their way through a circus of stalls and performances.

The reason for this? It’s open day season for universities, with each institution competing to showcase what they have to offer prospective students.

As Year 12 students edge closer towards the end of their secondary school education, many are trying to decide which university is the best fit, and open days are a great way to gauge this.

Fortunately, there is no wrong option. We are very lucky in Australia that all our universities are very good. Some of the key things for students and parents to understand are that different universities will be more suitable for different students.

To ensure they’re making an informed decision, students should consider the following questions.

What is important to me?

Knowing what you’re looking for in a university is key. The Good Universities Guide provides graduate outcome and student experience ratings, from median starting salary and employment rates to learner engagement and staff qualifications. Different universities excel in different areas, so it really depends what you consider most valuable. Some universities are better at delivering students jobs when they leave than others, so this should definitely be a consideration when deciding on an institution.

Have I conducted any research?

Investigating the pros and cons of potential universities is vital to making an informed decision. Open days are the obvious way to find out this type of information but in the lead up, it’s worthwhile to do some online research so you can come prepared with any questions about the university. The Good Universities Guide not only offers users information on open days but lists ratings for all 39 universities in Australia and allows the comparison of courses and institutions.

You need to be able to address your area of interest and identify what courses you might enjoy. Once you get to the open day, you can investigate the relevant facilities and activities. For example, Federation University’s Ballarat Technology Park is a big drawcard for students who are interested in innovation, entrepreneurship and the tech sector.

Am I sure about what I want to do?

While many high school students have their heart set on specific universities and courses, this isn’t the case for everybody. If you haven’t made up your mind yet, that’s okay. Several universities, such as Swinburne and RMIT, are dual-sector institutions that offer alternative pathways, which is ideal for someone who doesn’t know what he or she wants to do yet. Some of the VET courses on offer can definitely help guide students in the right direction.

Above all else, it’s important to remember there is isn’t a one size fits all approach to choosing a university, but by conducting research and attending open days, you can give yourself the best chance to make the right decision for your career prospects.

For dates on upcoming open days, visit


Chris Lester is Good Education Media’s Chief Executive Officer and brings to the sector more than two decades of experience in strategic management, business development and financial services. Chris believes education gives us a knowledge of the world around us and changes it into something better. As such Chris is passionate about supporting students find the right education pathway and hopes Good Education Media can assist them in doing just that. Learn more about Chris.

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