It’s open season at universities across Australia as they throw their doors open to potential students.
Kirsty Mitchell from Bond University’s Career Development Centre shares her top five things to consider for choosing the right course.
1. Overwhelmed? You’re not alone
When people come to the end of high school they encounter a huge gap and they’re not sure how to cross it. They need to take a leap of faith but it can be incredibly overwhelming because they don’t know what they don’t know. Find out what you’re interested in, what you’re curious about. What are the problems you see in the world that you want to contribute to solving. This is the basis to start your learning journey.
2. Think about the experience, not just the education
Be mindful of what you want from a university education. Ask clear questions about how many students will do the course, who are the tutors, what is the composition and the support structure provided. These components of your education are just as important as the actual subjects. Do you want a highly personalised experience? How do you work and learn best? What opportunities will you get outside of the classroom?
3. The future job
The big hope you have when you start a university degree is that you’ll launch your career on the basis of your degree. The big fear is you won’t. We are not just equipping students for their first job out of university. We should be equipping them for their entire career. It’s fine to have a definitive job that you aspire to, but it’s equally okay to be unsure. Over the course of your career it will change and managing this uncertainty and taking action is an equally important career skill. Most people focus on a degree as this technical vessel of knowledge, but employees hire university graduates because of leadership potential. We are not hiring you because you know things, we are hiring you because a degree is an apprenticeship in learning and application it then becomes your foundation of future problem solving, what will change is how you apply and extend on it.
4. Don’t make your decision based on convenience
Don’t default to what is easiest now. Take your time to make a decision based on what is the best path for you over the long term. Just because you live at home now doesn’t mean the university closest to you is the best fit. It’s a big decision, but choosing convenience now could cause heartache and hassles later on. There are no shortcuts.
5. Ask questions, lots of them
Talk to everyone. Talk to each faculty, understand what they do and have some good open conversations about what they offer and what the opportunities might be. What is the support ecosystem, what is the quality of education, what are the outcomes, where do people go? What are the skill sets that graduates leave with? The biggest question: will the university give you the platform to do what you want to do?
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