7 Ways to Get the Most From an Online Open House

Students evaluating traditional degree programs often make a campus visit. They might meet an admissions counsellor, take a tour of the campus or even stay on-campus for a night to assess the general vibe of the university. In many cases, what students discover during their campus visits helps them decide whether to apply.

If you’re looking into American University’s online degree programs, then a campus visit may not be a deciding factor. Still, you deserve to ask questions about the college, get information from an admissions counselor, talk to the program professors, chat with other applicants and get a feel for your online degree program. Participating in an online Open House can be a great way to get the information that you need. Follow these seven tips to get the most out of an online Open House program.


Check Your Equipment and Your Environment

Be sure to download or connect to the meeting software about 24 hours before the session starts. You don’t want to have connection problems right when the Open House is scheduled to begin. Also, mute your computer’s microphone. Loud noises and even the sound of your fingers typing on the keyboard can distract your fellow participants. Finally, choose a quiet and distraction-free environment. Participating in the Open House from a quiet room at home is better than calling in from a noisy cafe. Turn off your phone, put your dog outside and arrange for child care if needed.


Prepare Before the Event

Although you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the degree program during the event, you should understand the basics before the Open House starts. Research the application requirements, the required courses and the program professors before the session. After getting an overview, write down any questions you have. Take notes while the admissions counsellor and professors are talking, and write down any answers they offer to your prepared questions. Also, jot down new questions you have while you’re listening.



Introduce Yourself

Most likely, the online Open House interface will have a chat window so you can introduce yourself. As applicants login, they’ll often type a quick greeting including their names, where they’re from and which degree program they’re investigating. Take a moment to introduce yourself to everyone. If you make a nice connection with someone, then open a separate chat window and exchange some pleasantries. Not everyone who attends an Open House will be admitted to the university, but you can still get a general feel for your future classmates.


Clarify the Application Procedures

Usually, admissions counselors provide specific information on application deadlines and on how they want you to complete admissions documents. Make sure to write down exactly when application items are due, how to submit items and how to format items. If the program requires GRE or other standardised test scores, make sure to know the deadline for submitting your scores so you can schedule an appropriate testing date.


Listen for Helpful Hints

During an Open House, admissions counselors and program professors drop occasional hints about what they want from their applicants. They’ll make offhand comments about what they like to see in recommendation letters, what types of purpose statements are effective or what they want from your portfolio. Listen for these free hints, write them down and incorporate them into your application materials.


Ask Questions

When your professors start the Q&A time, write one or two of your most important questions in the chat window. You should avoid monopolising the Q&A period, so get your questions answered without taking opportunities away from other students. If you have more questions, send an e-mail to the professors or to the admissions counsellor after the Open House.


Say “Thanks”

The program professors and admissions counsellors offering the online Open House probably took time outside of their workdays to answer your questions. Type a note in the chat window to say “thank you” for their time. Also, fill out any post-Open House survey you receive so the presenters will know what worked and what didn’t.

Sign up for one of American University’s online Open House sessions. See whether you’re a good fit for the school, and learn more about if American is right for you.

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