7 questions you should ask at Open House

Make the most of your day at Open House—ask smart questions to get the information you need

Open house events can be overwhelming, so we want to help you prepare you ahead of time. Even if you're still unsure about your future, you can make smart decisions about your education.

Every learner needs to ask questions, but you don't need to have the answers, and we don't expect you to. Come to MacEwan University’s Open House to figure out what you want from your education and your university.

1. How do I apply?

Wait—don’t ask this question at Open House! Get all your admissions-type questions answered at MacEwan.ca/Admissions before you get here. MacEwan University’s site has tons of well-organized, comprehensive information about admissions, so you don’t have to spend your day on campus asking this question and you can ask some of the ones below instead. (Once you've been accepted to a program, be sure to visit our Getting Started page.)

2. What program should I take to become a ____?

Even before talking to an advisor, most prospective students think they know what they need to enter a particular career. Student advisor and recruiter David Fischer says most of the time they’re wrong. “I strongly advise students to reverse engineer from the job they want—talk to people who have that job and ask what that person would want to see if they were hiring for it,” he says.

He adds, “Getting good marks is one part of what you need, but getting relevant work/volunteer experience is just as critical.” Ask the faculty and staff at program booths about career options and job growth.

3. What can I do with a certificate/diploma/degree in ____?

Again, talk to staff and faculty manning the program booths. Find out what credentials are available from that program and what previous students have done with them. MacEwan University has a number of faculty who work in their industry of expertise in addition to teaching and can tell you what employers and/or graduate schools are looking for.

4. How do I pay for school?

“Students are always blown away when I tell them we don’t give away all the free money—scholarships and awards—that are out there every year,” says David.

You don’t always need to be a straight-A student or a community leader to score scholarships and awards; just be yourself and apply. Bursaries, for example, are granted to students who demonstrate financial need, and more often than you might think the money isn’t awarded because no one applied for it.

The university can also tell you about other sources of funding, including band funding for First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, student lines of credit, RESPs and government student loans.

But when it comes to loans, Frances Billingsley, associate registrar, Records and Registration, advises to ask for what you need—in other words, remember that you have to pay that money back, so make a budget and don’t take on unnecessary debt.

5. What's the difference between university and high school?

You may not have noticed, but so far you haven’t really had to think about doing anything other than going to class, studying and getting good grades. In high school, things like admissions, registering for courses, paying for text books and much more are handled for you.

Ask about what you'll need to do as a university student, because teachers won’t be sending you home with a note for your parents. It’s all up to you to figure what you want to do, where you should be and how to get what you need.

6. University seems scary—is anyone going to help me?

University is a big step for many students, but MacEwan University is well-equipped to help you—just check out the number of student services available in the main foyer of Building 7: peer support, counselling, Writing and Learning Services, the Aboriginal Education Centre, Services for Students with Disabilities—and so many more that we’ve probably missed naming them!

The Students’ Association of MacEwan University has services for students too, including a food bank, peer support, tutoring and clubs to help you make new friends.

7. How will I know if I’ll like it here?

Just by coming to Open House, you’ve taken the first step. Now walk around and meet with faculty members and program advisors. Check out the classrooms, labs and other facilities. Talk to the friendly volunteers (many of whom are current students).

“A post-secondary education will likely be one of the most expensive purchases a person ever makes,” says David. “Most people wouldn't buy a house without walking through it, or a car without test driving it, so why should someone choose a post-secondary institution without visiting it and getting a feel for the campus and the atmosphere?”

And if you’re still unsure, ask about campus tours, information sessions (many of which are offered during Open House), and student-for-a-day opportunities.

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If you found this article useful, be sure to read our First-Year Student Primer series, including:


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