Around 3000 high school students from across the North Island descended on the University of Waikato Hamilton campus on Friday for Open Day 2021.
They arrived by bus, minivan, on foot and by car and from as far afield as Kerikeri, Gisborne and Wellington to get a taste of what Waikato has to offer.
Open Day is an annual event designed to give high school students an insight into what life is like while studying at the University, and is a chance to discover potential study options while engaging with lecturers and other students.
There were 64 mini lectures and workshops on subjects ranging from climate change to artificial intelligence and leadership communication. Te Piringa - Faculty of Law hosted a moot court, while elsewhere on campus, a dance workshop was in full swing and current teachers talked about their journey through their education degree into the profession.
Information sessions covered important topics including the transition from high school to university, the application process, key dates and how to get support as well as tours through the Halls of Residence, library and the on-campus gym, UniRec.
Jaya Houkamau and Gabrielle Van Kempen, both 17, were part of a small group of Year 13 Coromandel Area School students who travelled to Hamilton for Open Day.
They were interested in studying criminal law, and had just had their fingerprints inked at one of the interactive stands.
Classmate Kylah Berghan, 16, was keen on studying education or health, sport and human performance. Elleson Hamon, 17, said she was interested in environmental science or dance.
The tours of the Halls of Residence got the thumbs up from the Coromandel students, who said they would “definitely” stay there if they moved to study at university in Hamilton.
“They were very welcoming,” added Gabrielle.
A busload of around 40 Year 13 students from Whangarei Boys’ High School also attended Open Day and enjoyed their campus visit.
Kaata Whitehead, Lennox Samuels and Eli Warmington, all 17, were interested in studying health, sport and human performance. They had just visited UniRec and were making their way to the Waikato Management School where Nikau Clarke, also 17, was hoping to study management next year.
Matamata College students Grace Hayward, 18, Mollie Allison, 18, and Katherine Jarratt, 17, also enjoyed Open Day.
Waikato University appealed because of its proximity to family in Matamata, said Mollie.
“I’ve always wanted to come here and it’s only 50 minutes' drive from home.”
Mollie, a top junior volleyball player, was hoping to study health, sport and human performance “because that’s been my interest my whole life”.
Grace was undecided about what to do after high school, but was enjoying the opportunity to explore her options, attend mini lectures and experience student life.
Katherine was interested in studying human geography and social sciences. She agreed that attending a university close to family was an advantage.
“It’s convenient because it’s close to Matamata.”
University of Waikato Vice-Chancellor, Professor Neil Quigley, said Open Day was a huge success. He enjoyed talking to visiting students, and their families and teachers. His pet Border Collie, Ella, who became somewhat of a star attraction with students over lockdown last year, was also a hit for selfie photos and friendly pats.
“Open Day is always a vibrant, fun day on campus, and this one was particularly special as we weren’t able to hold it last year. It was great to showcase all the wonderful academic, sporting and social opportunities we have here at Waikato, and the welcoming, supportive community we have at our campus. I look forward to welcoming this cohort of high school students back to the University of Waikato in 2022 to start their journey with us.”
The Tauranga campus will host their Open Day this Friday May 28 from 9.30am to 12.30am. For more information see the event page here.