Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

7 essential questions to ask at NAIT’s Virtual Open House

Access to instructors, admissions reps, presentations and more

Each year at NAIT’s Open House, thousands of potential students get their first glimpse of the shape their future may take: industries they’ll be part of, careers they’ll begin, contributions they’ll make.

This year, like in 2020, attendees will be able to see all of that from the comfort of their homes, from anywhere in the world, when the free event happens virtually on Saturday, Oct. 30.

Registering online is all it takes to access the more than 100 virtual booths showcasing NAIT’s programs and services.

Coming to a decision about where life might lead thanks to a polytechnic education, however, may prove more challenging. To help, we talked to student recruitment manager Angela Finlayson about the best ways for attendees to get what they need to make their choices. 

Here are seven essential questions to consider asking the experts at one of NAIT’s biggest events of the year.

1. Why should I choose NAIT?

“Prospective students are savvy,” says Finlayson. “They’re looking at other options and other institutions. They want to understand ‘Why would I choose NAIT over ‘x’ university or ‘y’ college? What’s the differentiator?’”

“We’re preparing graduates for their future jobs.”

The general response: “We are a polytechnic.” NAIT is set apart by its focus on hands-on, career-oriented learning, says Finlayson. “We’re preparing graduates for their future jobs.”

ambulance simulator at nait

2. What programming does NAIT offer?

“We have such diverse programming – from a bachelor of technology degree to health fields to trades diplomas, and all kinds of technology in between those,” says Finlayson.

Open house is an opportunity to explore those options, she adds. Program booths will be staffed by instructors, and there will be scheduled presentations (check out page 5 of this pdf for a complete list) about each of NAIT’s four schools:

“You could find a program that’s perfect for you and you didn’t even know it existed.”

3. What career opportunities are there after graduation?

Even if you haven’t started studying in a particular field yet, it’s fine to ask where you might end up when you’re done. Program representatives have unique insight into those future careers, says Finlayson.

"[Our instructors] are experts in their fields.”

“Our instructors are a great differentiator for NAIT, too. They have experience in industry. And a lot of them still work in industry, too. They’re experts in their fields.”

4. How do I apply?

Staff from Admissions will be available to answer questions about application requirements. Student Recruitment will too. There will also be presentations on the process (covering deadlines, documents and more), as well as on what happens after you’ve applied.

“Every post-secondary has different timelines and processes,” says Finlayson. “You want to make sure you understand that.”

electronics student at NAIT

5. Does NAIT have pathways to other credentials or recognize prior learning?

There are many paths to NAIT, and many ways to build on a NAIT education. The details are specific to each program, so ask instructors or representatives directly. Student recruitment will also have insight into the matter, says Finlayson.

6. Are there funding opportunities?

NAIT supports more than 4,000 students by awarding some $6 million in scholarships and bursaries each year. How do you become one of those students?

“We have a team that are specialists in that,” says Finlayson. Look for the Student Awards and Financial Aid booth and check out their presentation.

7. What services are available to help students succeed?

This question takes many forms, Finlayson knows. How does NAIT support students with disabilities? Are there student clubs? Sports teams? What does the polytechnic’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion do? How are Aboriginal students supported? What does NAIT do to help international students? And more!

For almost anything you might need, says Finlayson, there’s a booth. And don't forget all those presentations. They're designed to speak directly to the needs of would-be students, no matter where they're currently enjoying the comforts of home – including a special set for those who are abroad.

“We’re offering those in English, Japanese, Spanish and Cantonese,” says Finlayson.

Virtual tours

Future learners can get a feel for the real NAIT and its learning spaces through a virtual campus tour. Attendees can learn more about campus life and services, and view shops and labs such as the ambulance simulator, the television and radio studios, culinary labs, petroleum engineering labs, and alternative energy labs.


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