Choosing A University: How do I make the most of my Open House trip?

By Vera Zhang, SMU School of Economics | Communications Secretary, SMU Students’ Association

Choosing a university can be a pretty daunting task.

By this point most of you would have either received your diploma results or are anxiously awaiting your ‘A’ levels results. And, the next step would be choosing a University and programme.

‘Which are the top universities to consider?’ ‘What programmes do I want to study?’

These are quintessential questions to ask; but bear in mind that it’s not all about academics. In the time since I began my journey in SMU, I’ve learnt that the selection of a university should really be based on the whole student life experience. Four years is not a short time frame and I had better be sure that the university’s location, environment and culture are things I can see myself living and breathing for the next few years. More than that, what other experiences can the university offer to further broaden my horizon?

If you’re reading this blog it probably means that you’ve thought about checking out SMU Open House. And you should! This is the perfect time for you to take a closer look at SMU and get a holistic view of what student life is like.

So, here some of my personal tips on how to make the most of your trip to SMU and what you need to do before choosing your university.


Read It!


Before coming to open house, it is best to have some prior knowledge about the university. SMU has multiple platforms for you to prepare yourself for a more informative tour on the day of open house — such as, SMU’s official website, Instagram, Facebook, as well as the SMU Students’ Association website for information about our student activities.

You don’t want to waste precious time exploring generic information that is so readily available. When you head to open house, it should be with the aim of finding out information that would apply specifically to what you want to know, based on your interests. With this in mind, it may help to set some goals for your open house trip after doing your research: What do you want to know about SMU, what SMU programmes are you curious to explore, and what do you expect from SMU?


See It!


While you are at open house, why not see what studying in SMU is really like. Join our campus tour and discover what this beautiful environment has in store for you! Wondering how different SMU’s interactive pedagogy is? Drop by a seminar room to get a feel of the environment and envision what learning could be like for you! Interested in SMU’s comprehensive career services? Locate our dedicated career centre and discover more! Curious about what SMU students do outside of class? Simply take a stroll around campus and particularly along the large expanse that is our underground concourse and you may just catch the different CCAs and groups in action.


Hear It!


Open House is the best time to “hear it from the horse’s mouth”, so to speak. SMU arranges a series of talks and information sessions for you to hear it all! From more general admissions (and financial) talks to programme specific sessions, you’ll get a good dose of what SMU and our faculty can provide. In fact, if you have any burning questions, this is the one time where you have all the right people in one place to answer them. So don’t be afraid to ask all the hard questions.

Also, if you want to hear more from current SMU students, feel free to approach them — they are typically in a SMU shirt, so you can’t miss them! Ask them about all you want to know from an “on-the-ground perspective” and they will definitely be willing to give you their answers!


Feel it!


If you ask me what’s the main difference between searching for information online and coming down to the open house in person, I would say that being able to physically feel the atmosphere and energy is what I value most! All the write-ups and messaging can’t let you know whether you’ll really like being in this university. Why not get a feel for the SMU spirit and persona when you’re walking around and attending different talks. From the professionalism of students in their smart formal suits, the pride that students have as they go about dressed in their SMU t-shirts and jackets, to the passion and drive that SMU students take in their leadership roles and group activities — all of these help to paint a visual imagery of your future university life that can hardly be delivered in a written text. You may fall head-over-heels in love with SMU because of these intangible feelings. Who knows?

I hope you find your perfect university in SMU, and in 3 to 4 years leave with some of the best memories here with us.


Find out more about our annual SMU Open House for undergraduate admissions at this website.