College open days & orientation

Prep is key!

Written by Ruthie B


So you are heading to college – and you are excited, scared and nervous.  Above all you are dying to leave home, yet not sure where you are bound. Here are some words of – well not quite ‘wisdom’ – but from my own recent experiences that might help you on your way. You may know most of it already, but a lot of it was new to me when I started out.

Open Days

Open Days can be pretty useful, and not just as a day away from school. Even if you think you’re sure about where you’d like to go to college, it’s still well worth checking out a few open days. It’s a great opportunity to have a look around the campus, find out a bit more info about courses from the lecturers and of course have a bit of craic pretending to be a college student for the day. You can get a real feel for a college during the open day and also get an invaluable insight into what many courses are actually about.

To get the most out of the open day a little bit of planning when you arrive pays dividends. Get an open day brochure and make a bit of a plan so that you can fit in a few different talks and tours. Give yourself a bit of time to get to/find the venue (bearing in mind campuses can be pretty big). On one open day, two of my friends and I sat through an hour-long introduction to Theology (since we accounted for 75% of the audience we didn’t feel we could slip out unnoticed…) after mixing up the lecture theatres. While it was enlightening, we missed the last talk of the day on European Studies (our intended introduction).

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, after all you’re there to find out a bit more about the courses, but if it does seem a bit daunting you can always email a lecturer later. It’s not difficult to find their email addresses on the college website and it’s well worth knowing whether a certain undergraduate degree/diploma etc. will qualify you for your intended career/ postgraduate course.


The first day or two of college will inevitably be exciting/scary and let’s face it; it’ll take a week or two to get your bearings. Don’t despair! There are literally thousands of people in your situation- with only a few old friends (if they’re lucky!), a houseful of new faces and most likely a sore head like yours. Drag yourself into college and get stuck in- it’ll be worth it! The first few days are seriously useful, and not only for those doing courses with lots of options. You will get semester plans, information on finding notes, lists of reading material and plenty of inspirational speeches. There’s always one or two who don’t bother with these first few days, only to find out in May that 20% of their marks went for those continuous assessment quizzes on Fridays that they never made it to.

Registration is usually around this time, so be prepared and don’t be the eejit who has to pay for late registration. Chances are you will need a passport photo, evidence of having paid fees, a completed registration form etc. so get these all ready the day before.

Find out more about the essentials of starting college.

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