Attending a postgraduate open day may seem simple, even unnecessary, especially if you attended open days while you were researching your undergraduate course.
Here are our top tips to help ensure you get the most out of your postgraduate open day.
Make A Check-List
It's always a good idea to write down what you want to learn and discover about this particular institution and course before you set off. Make a note of all of the questions you want to ask in advance and carry something to note questions as they pop into your head throughout the day. Some universities – such as the University of Leicester – provide apps or printable guides for you to plan your day, which will help you navigate around a large unfamiliar campus. If they don't, then find a map and work out an efficient route that will allow you to see everything that you want to in the few hours that you have.
Plan How to Get There
This is especially important if you are attending an informal or formal interview or have appointments planned. Check bus routes, train timetables and car parking to ensure there are no surprises. The majority of universities are going to be expecting fewer students than on an undergraduate open day, but there will still be plenty of other prospective students, so check if the university is running any transport to and from city centres or train stations. Alternatively, speak to students you know who might be able to share transportation costs with you.
View this as an interview and dress appropriately for your subject. If you are attending an open day for a professional course like Law, Accounting or Business Management, then dress as if you already work in that field. A full suit is probably not necessary, but do try and look smart. This might not be appropriate for other creative subjects, but if you dress for the job that you want after you've completed your postgraduate course, then you'll be on the right path dress wise. If you are still at university completing your undergraduate degree, then you'll be able to get some advice from your Careers Service, otherwise Maynooth University has some good advice.
Begin networking before you've even applied to the course to find out all you can. Have a look at alumni pages and reach out via social media to speak with current students about the course you're interested in. If you're lucky, then you might be able to meet some of these students while you are on the open day.
Research The Academic Staff
Most people undertaking postgraduate study have a much more focused attitude to their subject than they did at the undergraduate level. Do you have a particular area of interest? If so, then you should thoroughly research the academic staff who share your interests. Which of them have published work recently and where? Read through their profiles to find out where have they previously worked or advised at, as this will inform you as to where you might find an all-important place for internship or work experience.