Choosing a university can be super stressful; it feels like one of those ‘life-changing’ decisions and that if you make the wrong choice, you’re doomed for failure. While it’s not as big a deal as you think, it’s still really important to do your research. You can do all the Googling and talk to as many family and friends as you want, but when it comes to picking the right uni, nothing beats checking out the real deal.

I know, I know – you’ve got a lot on your plate at the moment and skipping open days seems like the easiest way to give yourself a lil more time to think about all the deadlines and exams you have coming up.

But universities make open days’ worth your time. Whether it’s free food, performances, interactive activities or market stalls, most go all-out to sway your decision. That’s why you’ve got to go a bit deeper than the free sausage sizzle – you’ve got to attend the course lectures and info sessions too, as this is where you get to see what the uni is really about. Here’s a couple of other reasons why you shouldn’t skip uni open days.

1. Suss out the campus

Have a wander around the campus and take a geez at all the facilities. Picture yourself studying in the library, ordering multiple coffees from the café and taking notes in lecture halls. Check out the classrooms, food joints, outdoor areas and go on a campus tour if you can. This could be where you spend a considerable chunk of your life at so take it all in and make sure you vibe with it.

2. Deciding on a course

Still trying to figure out what you actually want to study at uni? The open day will help you figure it out. You’ll be able to go to different info sessions and seminars that’ll give you a heap more insight than flicking through a few course guides would. The open day will allow you to witness how business and politics are brought to life, join a creative arts session, take part in a STEM session, check out humanities, creative arts and social sciences so that when you head home at the end of the day, you’ll have a heaps better idea of what you’re interested in.

3. Free stuff

I mean, need I say more? What’s better than free stuff? Nothing. Literally nothing.

Open days can be full of exhibitions, performances as well as clubs and societies trying to win you over with food. Free food. Nothing tastes better than a sausage sizzle or cupcake you didn’t pay for. Delish.

4. Opportunities galore

Going to uni doesn’t mean doing the hard slog with your head in a book at the library for the next couple of years. You could spend a semester studying somewhere like Canada, the UK, Italy, Brazil, New Zealand, Japan or China to name a few. Or, if you can’t commit to a whole semester abroad, you could do a short course during summer or winter break – there’s plenty of opportunities there for you to jump on and the open day is the perfect chance to find out all about it.

On top of that, you can find out what scholarships you can apply for, whether campus living is for you and what practical placements or internships are available as part of your degree. Basically, all the extra goodies that will make your uni experience top notch.

5. Convince your parents

Regardless of whether you’re moving out of home for uni or just heading down the road, your parents will always be a tad hesitant about which uni you decide to go to. They’ll have a tonne of questions and opinions which can make the whole process a lot more stressful for you. That’s why taking them along to open days can be handy. It gives them the chance to get all the info that’s important to them and put their mind at ease about their lil baby growing up and going to uni.

Open day season is here, so it’s time to round up your mates, plan your schedule and get going.

The Australian National University (ANU) has their Open Day on Saturday, August 31 and it’s the perfect place to start if you’re looking at what university to apply for. The whole day is free and there’s a tonne of workshops, exhibitions and tours so you’ll really be able to get a vibe for the place. On top of that, if you register for the day over here, you’ll go in the draw to win a MacBook Pro and some BOSE noise cancelling headphones 🙌