Although the pandemic has stalled the in-person events students rely on in order to shape their future—Open Days, Careers Fairs and internship talks—it has not prevented UCC from innovating a new way to look forward. Webinars have become the means to acquiring knowledge about prospective career and degree pathways, allowing students to engage with employers and university staff from home.
Taking the leap into further study may seem more uncertain than before: what health advice will be from March onwards remains uncertain and September feels even more ambiguous. To counter the uncertainty, online fairs, expos and open days enable students to browse opportunities and begin to put plans together for the next semester and beyond. UCC Careers’ Summer Internship Festival ran from January 26th to February 4th, offering virtual events and conversations with employers in a variety of fields from law to science, consulting to sales. To plan beyond the summer months, the university is set to host it’s Postgrad Expo on Tuesday February 23rd from 3-7pm. In registering for the event, students gain access to the live chat Q&A, Keynote talks and opportunities to speak with the academics and staff of UCC’s postgraduate programmes.
For prospective undergraduate students, it is still unclear whether they will undertake the traditional Leaving Certificate exam, be subjected to the same predictive grading system as the Class of 2020, or have their grades and CAO points calculated in an entirely different way. To accommodate these students, the university has distilled its Open Days into a virtual, on-demand exhibition hall running from January until the end of June, with a three-hour live chat scheduled for May 5th 2021. The CAO officially closes on July 1st at 5.15pm – locking in the choices students have made in a time which remains uncertain.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made such virtual expos and open days the ‘new normal’ with universities across the country constructing similar digital platforms to host their prospectus.