It’s that time of year again, when Colleges and Sixth Forms put on the razzle dazzle for A Level and BTEC students. Here’s 10 top tips to help you get the most out of your Open Evening.
1. Know your stuff. Find out what courses you think you might be interested in. It is worth thinking about your best subjects in school, and using those as a starting point. Play to your strengths. There will probably be a few colleges offering similar courses. The best advice is to go to as many open evenings as you can, so you can get a feel for what college life will feel like there.
2. Don’t be a sheep! Just because your friend is going to Hogwart’s, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you! Think for yourself, make your own choice. If you are true friends, you will stay in touch.
3. Plan your visit. Make sure that you go and visit every department that offers the subjects you are considering. It’s a great opportunity to talk to teachers and find out what you will be learning, and often there will be other students there to talk to. This will give you a better idea of whether it is the subject and college for you.
4. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask other students how life is for them at the college, they will be happy to talk. They’ll be honest!
5. Seek support. Chat to your school teachers, careers advisers, parents and friends about the options available to you when you leave school. They will be able to support and guide you in making this important next step.
6. Gather freebies. Every department will have information for you to take away and read later. You will get course leaflets on what it entails. How it will be taught, and what it can lead to. Gather as much information as you can, to digest later.
7. Explore. There are lots of different areas to visit, apart from departments. Check out the social areas, library and canteen. You’ll be spending a lot of time here over the next two years!
8. Attend the Principal’s talk. This is not just for parents. It will give you a good overview of college life, and how they will teach, support and guide you.
9. Step out of your comfort zone. You may have already planned what you want to study at college. Challenge yourself to visit at least one subject area which intrigues you – it is a great way to discover new courses and career options.
10. Come back! Open evenings are always buzzing, busy and exciting. There’s a lot to take in and lots to think about. If you aren’t sure, most colleges will allow a second visit. It’s a really important decision, so make sure it’s right for you.