Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Top tips for making the most of NAIT Open House

NAIT Open House runs Oct 18 and 19

Open houses are an opportunity to learn about a post-secondary institution’s programs, tour its campus and get valuable advice from current staff and students.

NAIT’s Open House is a big event. There’s a lot of information to take in, with students, families and schools wandering through more than 100 exhibits and displays with subject matter experts on hand to answer questions. It’s a fabulous experience, but can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have a plan.

We asked two organizers how best to navigate NAIT’s Open House, Oct. 18 and 19 on Main Campus.

Be prepared

graphic of a planBefore going to any open house, it’s a good idea to look into what programs a school offers.

If you’re a parent, sit down with your child and discuss their goals and the kind of post-secondary experience they’d like to have.

Talk about interests and find relevant career options

“They may not know what career they want to go into,” says Nicole Blomme, NAIT’s campus visits coordinator. If that’s the case, talk about their interests and find relevant options.

If they like sports, a program like Personal Fitness Training could be an option, she says. If they’re interested in health care and only considered being a doctor or nurse, there are many other routes they could go such as Respiratory Therapy.

Once you’ve shortlisted programs to explore, come up with questions to ask at those booths. Work together on this, Blomme says, but ultimately the student should take the lead since this is their potential career.

Get to the event

graphic of getting to open houseOpen houses are busy, so be prepared to navigate through a crowd.

At NAIT, don’t waste precious time looking for a parking spot. During the event, you’ll be able to park for free in the A/B lot or any surface lot.

On your way into the event, don’t forget to drop off a non-perishable food item for the NAIT Students’ Association Food Centre, to help students in need. Donation bins will be at entrances to the LRT and the Centre for Applied Technology.

Once on campus, grab a coffee from any of the eat AT NAIT locations and hit the ground running!

Once you’re caffeinated, use NAIT’s interactive map to find where each booth is located on Main Campus.

Ask for help

graphic of asking questionsFeeling overwhelmed? Look for smiling people wearing blue ‘Happy to Help’ T-shirts–dedicated volunteers–and who’ll point you in the right direction.

Welcome booths at building entrances are manned by students and staff. Blomme recommends taking advantage of their experience.

“Ask them what their favourite part about NAIT is or how they've gotten involved on campus,” she says. “That’s a good way to learn.”

Mom, Dad: I got this

taking the lead graphicIf you’re a prospective student and attending an open house with a family member or friend, make it clear that you’re in charge. When classes start, it’s all on you.

“Your parents aren't going to be emailing the instructor to advocate for you. That’s something that you need to do on your own. So it's getting you prepared for what it will be like.”

“It's hard to let go, but let [your child] take the lead.”

Parents: it might be tough to step back, but it’s important, adds Nina Browton, a NAIT coordinator of student recruitment.

“It's hard to let go, but let them take the lead,” she says. “Just make sure that you've had that conversation with your kid [beforehand] and have done the research so you both know what the expectations are.”

Divide and conquer

divide and conquer graphicIf you’re a prospective student, you might be going to open house with a school group.

At NAIT, that’s the bulk of the crowd on Friday. Don’t waste your opportunity by chatting with friends instead of learning about the institution, Blomme says.

She recommends a “divide and conquer” approach and find a spot to meet up later (try The Square in CAT).

“Split up, and each person can go and talk to a booth.”

“Split up, and each person can go and talk to a booth,” she says. “Then you can share the information with one another.

"You’re still having the experience together, but you're putting yourself out there and getting information to figure out what might be a good fit for you.”

If you’re attending as a family, it’s a good idea to spend some time apart as well. Let the student explore on their own, asking the questions they thought about before the event.

Give it time

time to coverAfter the event, Browton says parents should let the experience sink in before asking their kids too many questions. They need to process and internalize what they liked or didn’t about a program.

“Maybe have that conversation the next day, once they've had time to think about it or make their own notes.”

Follow up

follow up graphicIf you want to learn more about NAIT and how programs can align with your goals, there are lots of opportunities to explore.

You can attend a Program Preview and get an in-depth look at programs, or book a Campus Tour or be a Student for a Day.

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