Yes, that’s right, on top of everything else going on this year, you also have to face the daunting task of deciding what you want to do after exams are done and ATARs are out. Despite being pretty fed-up with high school by that point, round about now my friends and I were saying, “Um, yeah, I think I’d like to just stay at school instead. That would be a lot easier, thank you.” Because it was really hard to make that kind of decision; it seemed like it had just crept up on us (even though, of course, we’d been poked and prodded since year 10). Some of you may be feeling the same way, but this isn’t something to shy away from. You should be excited. You have free rein now and the possibilities are practically endless.
The Importance of Research:
Hopefully, your school has a careers counsellor or a designated staff member who organises all the information on how to set up your preferences (e.g. in Victoria through VTAC). Conveniently, you don’t have to fill out applications and etc. for every uni that you apply to, it’s a very simple procedure. The main thing is finding out which universities, institutes and courses you’d like to put on your preference list.
So, do some research. Look through course guides on the internet or in those pamphlets that teachers are always throwing at you. Find out what electives you can do and which things you can specialise in. See what kind of scores you’ll have to get for the different courses on offer, but make sure this doesn’t deter you – no matter what, but what you really want on the top of your list. If you don’t get in,, then you don’t get in, but it won’t hurt to strive for something higher than what you think you can achieve. You might just be surprised!
Also, if you’re planning on taking a gap year, look into that as well. Find out if it’s possible to defer the course you wish to do for after you’re done travelling or working. If university or TAFE is something you would like to do eventually, but you’re not ready yet and have other plans, it might be wise to set something up for later. It’s all about thinking ahead.
The Importance of Open Days:
Only another month or so now until August, when universities and institutes start opening their doors to prospective students. Start planning with your family and friends which ones you’d like to visit and, in particular, which departments you want to check out. Most universities will have all the details – including maps and scheduled sessions – up on their websites. Also, yes, this is the perfect excuse to take a break from all that studying you’re doing.
You might be thinking, “What’s the point? I’ve known where I want to go and what I want to do since year 9.” That’s okay, open days can still be extremely helpful! This time last year I didn’t even know that the course I’m in now existed. All it took was attending a quick info session and speaking with the good folk at RMIT one Sunday afternoon, and I felt more confident about what I was going to put on the top of my preference list.
This is especially helpful if you don’t know what you want to do yet. Go out there, have a chat with current students and teachers, have a look at more than just that one uni/TAFE you’ve had your eyes on, explore and be inspired by all the different things you could do next year.
The Importance of Doing What YOU Want to Do:
If you’re still not sure yet, don’t freak. Try a process of elimination. What are you drawn to most at school? If it’s more sciency stuff, look into doing a general science degree, where you can branch off and specialise later (a decision you won’t have to make right now). If you love humanities- and English-based subjects, maybe try Arts; there’s a wide range of electives to choose from and you don’t have to select your major right away. Sometimes making that first little step will help you make the rest.
This is no one else’s decision but yours. People may be tempted to discourage you, especially if you’re heading towards something more creative. It’s important to be a little practical, yeah, but don’t let practicality consume you; if you’re passionate enough about something, like fine arts or acting, then you’ll make it work. Balance keeping potential career prospects in mind with pursuing your dreams. You’re young and still have plenty of time to figure out what you’re going to do for your livelihood. So jump on opportunities and get an education in a field that you truly love. This will be sure to point you in the strongest direction. Soon you’ll be feeling just like this:
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