BMX champion Taylor Smith and her friend Ana Bati were among thousands of secondary school students from across the North Island to attend the University of Waikato Open Day.
The Campion College students travelled six hours from Gisborne to be at the annual event and said it was well worth the trip.
"The atmosphere here is really awesome," says Ana. "Today has definitely helped me with my decision to go to university."
"I've visited lots of different info stalls and everyone's been really helpful, especially with information about scholarships I can apply for," says Taylor.
Taylor has competed in four BMX world championships including the BMX Worlds in Holland last year where she placed 8th in the women's league quarter final.
She wants to come to Waikato to study a Bachelor of Management or Tourism so that she can "travel and see the world with my job".
She hopes to apply for the Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship because it provides development opportunities and fees support to students who excel in academia, leadership and sports or creative and performing arts.
"My sister is a third year Hillary Scholar and the opportunities she has gained have been incredible," Taylor says.
From 9.30am till 2pm, prospective students attended mini-lectures and information sessions, tried their hand at science experiments, took part in tours around the campus and halls, and talked to staff about study options.
Catherine Downes, Group Manager Future Students, says the event is a crucial part of the University's recruitment strategy and she was pleased with the large turn-out.
"This year more than 3500 students registered for the event and judging by the number of people on campus today I'd say we reached over 4000," says Catherine.
The annual event, which is free and open to the public, is designed to showcase the qualifications, academic excellence, student support, facilities and lifestyle the university offers students.