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UQ Students in purple polo shirts hold leaflets and a UQ tote bag and wave at the camera

University open days: your complete guide

Study tips
Published 1 Jun, 2023  ·  8-minute read

Uni open day season is upon us, and you may be feeling a little overwhelmed considering your future study options, not to mention all those questions about visiting universities. But there’s no need to be panic – we've got you.

Here's everything you need to know about university open days in Australia – when they are, where they are and what you can expect to get out of them.

From what to ask, to what to wear, we’ll guide you through frequently asked questions to ensure every uni open day you attend helps you make that all-important decision: which university is right for you?

Missed UQ's 2023 Open Day in August? You can still take a virtual tour of our campuses and facilities, ask questions via our online form and explore student life via our website. 

What happens at university open days?

Uni open days are all about helping you get a feel for what it would be like to study at a particular university. As such, they’re often a combination of general information sessions, more specific subject area presentations, and a showcase of all the uni has to offer by way of facilities and recreational or lifestyle programs.

What to expect at an open day

At most university open days, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • take a tour of the campus (sometimes you can also check out accommodation options)
  • attend discussions or presentations on study areas or courses of interest
  • ask questions
  • explore the facilities
  • find out more about clubs and societies
  • participate in fun pop-up activities
  • collect freebies!

There’s often a lot to fit into a day, so we recommend prioritising and planning what you want to do ahead of time. This way, you can ensure you get the absolute most out of the event

Each August, UQ releases an updated version of our dedicated open day app, which includes a personalised open day planner that will help you organise your day.

A student ambassador wearing a purple polo shirt holds a sign saying 'follow me for a campus tour' and leads a group of people through UQ's sandstone cloisters

When should you go to university open days

The primary audience for uni open days is undoubtedly Year 12 students, so most attend open days halfway through their final year of high school, as they’re considering which universities they want to study at the following year (or the year after, if they plan to defer and take a gap year).

However, it’s never too early to start considering what uni you want to attend. If you’re in Year 10 or 11 and would like to begin exploring your options, most universities welcome younger high school students to open day too.

Non-school leavers considering university studies (postgrad or undergrad) are also encouraged to attend open day and, in most cases, parents are welcome to accompany their teens to open day for added support.

University open days typically take place annually on a weekend day. August tends to be the most popular month for open days in Australia, as Tertiary Admissions Centres (QTAC in Queensland) generally begin taking university applications from August/September. For example, if you’re a Queensland student in Year 12 in 2023, you would attend most of your open days from June to September 2023, and then lodge your university preferences through QTAC from August, to begin study in Semester 1 (generally February/March) of 2024.

A select number of university courses run on different timeframes, so always be sure to check the specific undergraduate program of interest at your chosen university for application details and cut-off dates.

In short, you should be thinking about attending university open days at least 6 months before you plan to begin your tertiary education.

A father stands outside the information tent at UQ Open Day with his two daughters, looking at a program and chatting

University open days 2023

So, when exactly are 2023 uni open days?

For a full list of uni open days in your state, visit your local Tertiary Admissions Centre website:

  • QTAC for Queensland
  • UAC for New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory
  • VTAC for Victoria
  • SATAC for South Australia
  • TISC for Western Australia

Only select universities operate in Tasmania and the Northern Territory – visit their websites for more information on their open days:

While most Queensland university open days have now passed for 2023, check out the university websites as they may offer private campus tours, or virtual campus tours.

Keep an eye out for UQ's 2024 Open Day dates and see what happened at this year's event on our dedicated open day webpage.

What if I can’t make it to open day in person?

There are online options for attending open days across many universities, with some holding online-only events. While this is beneficial for students living in remote areas who may find it difficult to get to a physical event, we'd encourage you to make the trip to attend uni open days in person when possible. Part of choosing the right university is feeling at home on campus, and it can be difficult to get an idea of this through a computer screen (though a virtual tour can certainly help).

Are uni open days free?

Yes! You don’t have to pay to attend a university open day in Australia, but you will need to register. You can register via the university’s website. This is so the university can communicate with you in the lead up to the event and ensure you get the absolute most out of the day.

Note that at some university open days, you may have to register separately for time-allocated accommodation or campus tours, after you have registered to attend the open day in general.

UQ students stand behind the 'women in engineering' booth at open day, chatting too attendees

Questions to ask at uni open days

It’s always a good idea to arrive at university open days with a list of questions you want to find answers to. Don’t be afraid to speak up in information sessions or seek out current students and teaching staff to chat with – this is what open days are all about! The questions you ask will depend on what’s most important to you when it comes to choosing a university. We’ve put together a list to help you determine what you want to know more about.

Program-specific questions

  • What facilities are available to students studying this program?
  • How many students are typically in each tutorial or workshop?
  • Are the lecturers and tutors in this program currently working in the industry?
  • What organisations and companies have graduates gone on to work for?
  • What kinds of practical experiences or placements can I gain from studying this program?

Uni life questions

Inclusion and diversity questions

Support and assistance questions

Three students sit on the grass under the palm trees at UQ's Gatton campus with their purple open day totes bags, chatting and laughing

What to bring to a uni open day

There are a few things you can bring to a university open day that will help make the experience even more enjoyable and worthwhile. Here’s your open day packing list sorted:

  • sunglasses, hat and sunscreen (if it’s forecast to be a gorgeous sunny day)
  • umbrella or weatherproof jacket (if it’s forecast to rain)
  • drink bottle
  • reusable coffee cup (for those who like to stay caffeinated)
  • something to take notes with (a tablet, laptop or old-fashioned notebook will do)
  • a map of the campus (some universities will provide this on arrival, but if you want to save paper, you can download it onto a device or use an app, if the university has one)
  • a list of questions
  • a plan of what you want to do and see on the day
  • a sidekick (you might like to bring a parent or guardian, or perhaps a close friend to provide a second opinion and keep you company throughout the day – though this isn’t a must if you prefer to fly solo)
  • plenty of enthusiasm!

Most campuses will have food outlets where you can purchase snacks and meals on the day, though you can also bring your own food to stave off any hangry moments.

Lastly, if you’re wondering what to wear to a uni open day, you aren’t the only one, and it isn’t a silly question – see our notes above about packing for the weather. You’ll most likely be walking a lot, and for many campuses this involves being outside, so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes. You don’t have to wear your school uniform unless specified and the unofficial everyday university dress code is quite casual. Just wear what makes you comfortable and what feels most like you.

So, we’ve covered everything you need to know about university open days – but why should you go? Find out by reading our article Why go to university open days?

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