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Online Open Days

Online Open DaysOnline open days can seem strange and sometimes a bit intimidating to the uninitiated, but if you are proper prepared you can find out plenty of information and get a real feel for how a postgraduate program ­– be it on-campus or online – will be run by the university or institution. An online open day is the ideal way to work out if you are ready to study an online postgraduate program, but just because you don’t need to worry about travelling to attend an online open day, it doesn't mean that you don't need to prepare at all. 

Here we have a checklist of what you need to consider.

Sign up for relevant talks in advance

Similarly to a talk in an auditorium, an online presentation or talk will have a limited number of people who can connect at any one time. Make sure that you sign up for any presentations in advance, as this will make sure you get a spot in the meeting. It will also give you a chance to plan your day and work out any information that you need to find out during the presentations so that you can ask the right questions later.


Take an online tour in advance

Spend time reading through information that is available online already to make sure that you have absorbed it and formulated any questions as a result. Many universities offer full online tours – like these virtual tours at the University of Exeter – where you can view facilities online and these are great if you are ultimately going to be physically attending the university, rather than studying online and in the UK the government body UCAS has a list of the virtual tours available. Also, take the time to read through information about library services, IT services and support services so you can ask any questions that you might have about the information they've given you already.

Fully participate in any Q&A sessions

Here's where spending time reading through information and paying attention during the online presentations is useful. Online Q&A sessions can be a little intimidating, especially if they are through a video conferencing system as you might be able to see everyone else on your screen. Often online Q&A sessions are done through social media and you can type your questions in advance to check for spelling or grammar mistakes. Pay attention to what other people ask – especially if you have pre-prepared questions – as you don't want to waste time by repeating questions.

Contact currents students and alumni in advance

Social media is a great way to get in touch with current and past students. Spend a little time connecting with others through the university's social media accounts. Many universities will have volunteer students who are available for you to speak to about what the university is like, so also formally contact the university to see if they offer this service as well or if they use facilities like Unibuddy in the UK.

Write down any questions you have

The big mistake that many students make is thinking that they will remember everything they want to know about. Even though the open day is online, make sure that you have a pen and paper to hand. Write down any important questions beforehand and write down any answers that you think you want to remember when you get them. Writing it down helps you to remember what information you’ve been given and gives you something to refer to if you are attending more than one online open day.

Dress for the occasion

Some open days are in conjunction with an interview, just like they would be at an on-campus open day. Even if you aren't having an interview you should still spend a little time making sure you look presentable. You don't necessarily need to wear a suit, but a smart appearance doesn't hurt and also make sure that the room behind you is tidy and uncluttered if you are appearing in a video chat.


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