6 things to ask at an open event
Published on 19/02/2020 by DTHACK
One of the best ways to find out about your options after leaving school is to attend different college open events. These allow you to have a good look round and really get a feel for a place. You can usually speak to tutors and current students about the different courses on offer too.
Use these opportunities to find out as much as you can to help you make your decision about what to do next. The following questions are a good starting point but you’ll probably have questions of your own you’ll want to ask too!
How will the course be assessed?
If you’re not a lover of exams then the way in which your course is assessed could be a deal-breaker.
If you’re keen on going to uni but not so keen on sitting exams, a Level 3 Triple Diploma (more coursework based) might suit you better and would still give you the required UCAS points you need for university.
You might prefer to do an apprenticeship where assessment mostly takes place in the workplace. And with a wide range of degree and higher apprenticeships now available, you could still carry on to university level – the only difference is you’d be in employment..
How is the course taught?
Everyone learns in different ways so you need to make sure your chosen course can cater for your individual learning style.
For instance, one person might like to receive clear instructions whereas another might want to observe a demonstration and someone else might prefer to be left alone to work things through themselves.
Find out whether learning can be ‘tailored’ in this way to help you get the most out of your course – if you don’t ask you don’t get! Also, the more teaching methods there are the more interesting learning becomes and the more likely you are to stay motivated.
What careers have recent students gone on to?
‘Employability’ is the buzz word of the moment but just how good are colleges at helping you to land that dream career?
The best way to find out is to ask them what other students have gone on to do.
If they can reel off a list of relevant job titles and good quality employers then they’re probably a safe bet. Keep an eye out for student profiles in their literature too – if they have successful alumni they’re going to want to shout about it. Some colleges will also be able to tell you exactly what proportion of students progress into employment and university.
What industry placements do you offer?
Most full-time further education courses now include a period of work experience – what you really need to find out is where and how long this will be.
A college with good employer relationships will be able to offer a variety of placements across a broad range of sectors, giving you a greater chance of accessing a placement that’s highly relevant to your chosen course.
Some colleges also offer extended industry placements to enhance your skill set further. Don’t forget to ask about how you need to attend (eg weekly or all in one go) as this could also influence your choice of where to go.
How much tutor support will I receive?
Having supportive tutors who will pull out all the stops to help you do well can make a massive difference to your overall success.
When you ask this question, listen out for terms such as “1-2-1 time”, “progress meetings”, “regular feedback” and “open-door policy” in the response.
These all indicate a good level of commitment in keeping you on track towards your learning goals.
Try to find out what industry experience they have too – tutors who have a strong industry background and regularly keep their knowledge up-to-date will know which skills to focus on to support your future success.
If I don’t meet the grades, will I still get a place?
If the unthinkable happens and your grades don’t quite hit the mark you need to know if you’ll still be offered a place.
Most institutions will be able to squeeze you in somewhere but you need to make sure it’s on a course that will still allow you to follow the career of your dreams.
Also, you should check what the situation will be if you don’t make the grade in English and/or maths – will you be able to re-sit these subjects alongside your chosen course and if so does that mean having to stay there longer than planned? Forewarned is forearmed…
To discover B&FC’s full range of school leaver programmes and for help making the right decision about your future, come to our next open event.