Life After School

Words: ACU Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven

It is the time of year when those planning for a post-school life are beginning to focus their attention on 2017 and beyond. Open Days at universities and other post-school providers are crucial opportunities for young people to clarify their thinking about where they are heading for in the future, and for parents to engage in significant choices made by their children (possibly for the last time).

To help in the decision-making process, it is important to ask questions before and at the Open Day:

1. What are your interests, and where do you see yourself in three years and five years?
2. What am I good at, and what do I want to become good at?
3. Who do I know who is currently a professional in “X” field? Do they enjoy their role? Are they fulfilled?

At Open Day(s):
1. Talk to as many people as you can, especially current students.
2. Visit the study site – can you imagine yourself studying here?

Then ask questions:
1. Why should I come to Uni “A” or “B”?
2. Are there differences between the course offered here and that offered elsewhere?
3. What will I get from studying with you?
4. How do graduation rates for this course and university compare with other universities/providers?
5. What are the employment rates for this course?
6. What support is offered to students: academic skills, counselling, health, and wellbeing?
7. Can I talk to the lecturers/teaching staff regularly/ easily?
8. (For parents maybe) What will it cost to study at this place?
9. What scholarships/financial support are available?

1. What did I like about each place?
2. Will I be happy there, studying this course?
3. Is this really what I want to do?
4. Should I think about a ‘gap’ year?

Post-school study options mark a critical transition to adulthood, but family and friends can assist in this process. Keep in mind that these decisions do not have to be forever decisions: the latest data suggests that every school leaver now, will have multiple careers and need multiple qualifications. This is the next step on an exciting journey!

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