Sample questions you could ask during open day

Open days offer a valuable opportunity for students to explore their higher education options

Negotiating your way around college can be a challenge as a first-year student. One way to help you prepare before college begins in autumn 2024 is to attend an open day and ask the right questions.

Open days offer prospective students an opportunity to explore and assess the course options that are on offer while also giving an overall feel for the college campus and student life.

During the pandemic, open days could not be organised in the usual manner and for two years students had to log in remotely. Traditional open days resumed in full last year, and third-level institutions are giving students the chance to visit campus where they can meet with faculty staff, ask questions and take a tour of the facilities.

Qualifax has a dedicated section on its website ( listing college open days/evenings. It is a good place to start as it also features information on application dates, closing dates, as well as career exhibitions and information events.


If you are a prospective student and are planning to visit campus on an open day, it is important to have a think about what questions you will ask. They should be tailored to suit your own specific interests and needs in order for you to clarify any questions you may.

You will have an opportunity to gather essential information about the university, including details about academic programmes, admission requirements, financial aid, campus facilities, and career prospects for graduates. As a rule of thumb, it is a good idea to roughly keep to the same questions during each open day visit in order to get as measured an understanding of each college as you can.

It is also worth assessing your own impression of campus.

Attending an open day allows you to visit the campus in person, and this can be an invaluable way of getting a feel for the physical environment.

A college tour should offer the opportunity to visit classrooms, libraries, sports facilities and other amenities.

Not only will you also meet lecturers, tutors and other university staff, but you will also get a feel for their teaching style and gain an understanding of what is expected from students during their time at college.

You should have the opportunity to meet with current students, which is a great way of getting insights into everyday college life.

To make the most of that, prepare questions about extracurricular activities, clubs, societies and other activities.

Spending some time exploring the campus will familiarise you with the college, which should make life that little bit easier if you return as a first-year come next autumn. So plan your questions carefully, take note of the answers, take your time and don’t be afraid to go back with any further questions you have even after the event has ended.

Many institutions will also offer information about scholarships and alternative access options that are designed to attract more candidates from under-represented backgrounds.

Prepare to ask about other pathways to college such as the newly launched unified tertiary system which offered almost 500 places to students across 23 courses this year.

A unified tertiary course is one that commences in an Education and Training Board (ETB) and continues in a higher education institution, culminating in a degree. Students can earn a university degree through a new unified pathway to tertiary education that sits outside the traditional CAO points system. Courses are available in healthcare, enterprise, ICT, the creative sectors, engineering, manufacturing and construction.

Universities may also offer advice on the application process during open day. This can include information on deadlines, required documents, and tips for preparing a strong application.

The following are some sample questions you could ask:

About the course

What are the entry requirements?

How is the course delivered – will some or all of it be online?

How is the course assessed?

How many hours a week will be required on campus?

What subject areas does the course cover?

Will there be an element of continuous assessment?

Will I be assessed at the end of each semester?

How many places are on the course?

How big will the tutorials be?

Will there be opportunities for one-on-one time with tutors?

Is studying abroad an option?

Does the institution organise internships?

Career prospects

How will the course make me more employable?

Do you track students after they graduate?

How have previous students performed after graduation?

Do many students continue their studies following graduation?

Tell me about the guidance counselling service and what it offers.

The college

What facilities do you have on campus?

What are the library opening hours?

What sporting facilities does the college have?

What types of resources are available for students with disabilities?

How accessible is the college – is it wheelchair-friendly?


What are the university accommodation options?

What is the availability/cost of on-campus accommodation?

How big are the rooms?

Do I have to share with other students?

What are the application dates?

Does the college have a list of approved private landlords?

Does the college offer specific advice to students about accommodation?

Costs and financial support

Does the college provide financial supports or aid to students?

How do students qualify for this?

Does the college offer scholarships to incoming students?

How are scholarships awarded?

What are the relevant requirements/deadlines?

Does the college have a full list of grants/bursaries that are available?

Who do I talk to about financial problems/issues?

Student supports

What kind of student supports are available?

What kind of academic support is available?

Who can I talk to about student counselling?

Does college have a health centre?

Where is the students’ union located?

Is there a list of societies I can look at?

Are there job opportunities at the university for undergrads?

Diversity and inclusion

How does the university promote diversity on campus?

What support services or resources are available for underrepresented or marginalised student groups?

Are there opportunities for cultural exchange?

Are resources available for students who want to improve their language skills?

Career support

Do you have information on employment rates for former students of this course?

What career services are available to students?

Does the college provide support for former students seeking employment after graduation?

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Iriseoir agus Eagarthóir Gaeilge An Irish Times. Éanna Ó Caollaí is The Irish Times' Irish Language Editor, editor of The Irish Times Student Hub, and Education Supplements editor.