Know your options

Tertiary courses range from transition programmes (school to work), practical and academic courses, through to postgraduate study and research. There are also lots of trade, technical and business qualifications you can get on the job through workplace learning. Look at what industry training organisations offer, including apprenticeships.

Broaden your thinking

It’s tempting to choose a path that follows on from a subject you did well in at school, but think about what other areas your skills and knowledge might lead to. Investigate the jobs beyond your own experience – and your friends’ and family’s. There are all sorts of jobs and career pathways that you may not have heard of.

Everyone changes

There’s a good chance that by the time you are 25 or 20, you career direction will be different from the path you took when you left school. Think about that.

On one hand the decisions you make when you leave school are not the end of the journey. On the other hand, there’s no point burning up too many years and wasting money on something you might not stick with. Do your best to explore widely and keep a range of options in mind until you are sure.

Shop around

You’ve found a tertiary course that seems right for you, but it’s highly likely that other tertiary providers will be offering something similar. Look at the alternatives. The differences between what seem like similar programmes could help you clarify exactly what you want.

Think about your whole life

  • Think through all the changes you might need to make in your life.
  • Do you want to move to another town or stay in your home town?
  • Would you miss your friends and family? How will you keep up a sport or hobby you love?
  • Do you want a big loan?
  • Could you manage study or training as well as part time or casual work? Are you prepared for a different style of learning and living?
  • What use will your qualification be?

Be sure you know how valuable your qualification will be in the job market or as preparation for further study or training. Check out the prerequisites for other courses you have in mind. Research your job prospects – look at job vacancies, talk to employers who are likely to employ you and ask others who have completed the course how their job hunting went.

Everyone’s different

Take, or make, opportunities to meet the tutors and look at the facilities if you can. Talk to people who are already in the course or job you are thinking about. Get a feel for the community that will be a big part of your life. Is it right for you?

Look at how others did

Information on how well tertiary providers are helping their students to achieve is available from the Tertiary Education Commission. The information seeks to answer questions such as how many students are successful completing their course, completing their qualifications, progressing to higher level of study, being retained in study.

Get all the information

Once you’ve chosen your education or training pathway, make sure when you enroll or sign up that you get full details such as dates, costs, a refund if you need to withdraw, information about resources, student support services and complaints procedures. Do research and make the decision that’s right for your life. Remember that you will probably be making career decisions throughout you life. The decision you make now doesn’t have to be forever. It’s okay to change your mind, your plans, even your career.

Source: Wanganui Chronicle

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