THEY’RE BACK! HOW TO MAKE THE BEST OF (COVID
SAFE) OPEN DAYS
In coming weeks, several higher education
institutions will again start hosting on-site Open Days following the virtual
events held last year during the height of the Covid pandemic. But although
these events will once more be held in-person, prospective students are urged
to register as soon as possible, given that numbers will be limited due to
Covid safety regulations.
“Those who are serious about furthering their
studies next year, and are investigating all their options regarding what the
best qualification will be for them, and where they should study, will benefit
tremendously from being able to attend these Open Days,” says Peter Kriel,
General Manager at The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and
most accredited private higher education institution.
Kriel says it is more important than ever before to
carefully consider one’s options, given how the world of work has changed in
the past year, and also because Covid and lockdowns really highlighted which
institutions were able to continue delivering the highest quality academic
excellence without losing academic days. Prospective students attending Open
Days should specifically ask the question about how the learning experience was
maintained during the lockdowns, says Kriel, given that it is not out of the
question that there may be disruptions to in-person teaching again in future.
“The days are long gone where Matrics and those who
want to pursue a post-graduate qualification had to do little more than sign up
at any university for a popular or traditionally prestigious degree. Anyone who
wants to go study now, must ensure they are very clear about the connection
their chosen qualification will have to real-world opportunities in a few
years’ time, as well as the institution’s ability to continue in the face of
external challenges,” says Kriel.
He says the first step prospective students need to
take, is to find the websites of respected private or public universities and
higher education institutions, and then find details of upcoming Open Days.
Then they need to register to attend at a number of institutions, so that they
can compare their experiences of the campuses and their various offerings before
making a decision.
“The point of Open Days is to help prospective
students make informed choices. Furthering your education is a significant
investment of money and time, so the more you do your research before you
embark on your future path, the more likely you are to make a success of your
studies,” he says.
While much of the investigations into further
studies can be done online, attending Open Days give young people the
opportunity to speak to Student Advisors face-to-face, to view and experience
campus facilities, to get a taste of campus life, and to speak to current
Usually, Open Days include career and qualification
guidance, campus tours, overviews of sport and social activities, and residence
Kriel says those who are still uncertain about what
path they want to pursue, can gain some clarity by speaking to Student
“They will be able to help you match your passions
and strengths to those qualifications – some which you may not yet even have
heard of – that will put you on a path to a successful career in future.
“Very importantly, you also need to ask Student
Advisors about the role work-integrated learning plays in the institution’s
qualifications, because employers today need to see that a new appointment is
able to get the job done from day one, and won’t need months of training to align
their academic knowledge to the actual day-to-day demands of the job.”
Open Days also allow prospective students to get a
broad overview of careers and career opportunities, as well as the details of
the logistics that lie ahead should they decide to apply.
“Matrics should not leave the decision about what
to study and where until after their exams, or, even worse, until after they
receive their results next year,” says Kriel.
“Open Days provide a great, fun, and non-pressured
opportunity to explore your options, and clarify and commit to the road ahead.
Getting your plans for next year out of the way sooner rather than later will
go a long way toward relieving your anxiety about the future in coming months,
which will leave you with more of the mental and emotional energy you’ll need
to make a success of your exams.”