Thinking of going to uni? Read this first!

Illustrative representation of Thinking of going to uni? Read this first!

Everyone seems to be talking about university at this time of year - due dates for applications, what ATAR (or equivalent) score you’ll get and what courses and unis to include in your preferences…

To ensure you make the right choice for you, take a minute to consider the following:

1. Why am I going to university?

What’s your motivation for going to uni? Is it to get qualified for your dream career? To experience the student lifestyle? Or is it because everyone is telling you it’s the only way to get a good job?

Once you are clear on the ‘why’, you can better manage your expectations and risks. The reality is that one-third of students still haven't completed their degrees within six years of starting. Of those that do graduate, 30% are unemployed 4 months after graduating and 15% are still unemployed four years after graduating. 

These stats underscore the importance of taking time to decide whether uni really is the best option for you.

University is not the only pathway to a great job. Look into the range of alternative pathways, such as an Australian Apprenticeship (trade and non-trade) or heading straight into the workforce and building skills on the job. There are no right or wrong answers - only the best path for you.

If you are still not sure about the types of jobs that might suit you, you can check out our article on Knowing your work preferences.

Real stories - the business developer

Rachel thought going to uni seemed like the way to go, but after discovering she could mesh her love for engineering with her love of aviation at TAFE, she switched gears. Watch her story.

2. Is this course right for me?

So you are expecting a good ATAR? It’s tempting to just apply for the courses with the highest entry scores, right? After all you don’t want to ‘waste’ all that hard work at school…

Except of course if it turns out that the course doesn’t interest or suit you at all.

A smarter idea that can save you a lot of time and money is to research the course before you add it to your preferences.

Find out things like:

  • what does the course cover and what does a typical day look like
  • what’s expected of students in regards to assessments and other activities, like group projects and field work
  • are there formal work placements required to pass the course and
  • most importantly, what jobs does this course qualify you for?

3. Which university is right for me?

Not all universities are created equal. Remember, university is an investment in your future and you want to make sure you are doing the right thing for you.

Find out about their facilities, student support services, career hub and whether they have links with employers.

Check out our Training provider comparison table for more things to look for when investigating training providers.

4 Will I get a job when I finish?

A good way to improve your chances of finding work after uni is to build networks with employers while you study. Part-time and casual work, work experience placements and internships can all improve your chances of finding work after you finish. Employers expect uni graduates to have technical and job specific knowledge as well as workplace skills to be competitive for jobs.

1 2017 Graduate Outcome Survey. See: https://www.qilt.edu.au/docs/default-source/gos-reports/2017/2017_gos_national_report_final_accessiblea45d8791b1e86477b58fff00006709da.pdf?sfvrsn=ceb5e33c_4

More resources to help you

…Or you can browse Job Jumpstart for other ideas and suggestions of what to do next.