…get enrolled?

The enrolment procedures for each tertiary institution will be different, but usually each will have online and postal enrolment, and an in-person enrolment week before classes begin. Take note of the deadlines. Late enrolments incur extra fees.

Check your eligibility for the institution and course. If you’re waiting on your NCEA results, generally you can apply and will receive a conditional offer of study and then a confirmation once your NCEA results are available. 

Draft a weekly timetable to avoid any class clashes.

If your application is successful, you’ll typically receive an offer of study soon after. After sending in supporting documents and once any relevant NCEA results have come through, your offer will be confirmed.

…find accommodation?

Halls of residence

Sometimes institutions will require an academic standard such as NCEA Level 2 with Excellence and a school reference for a student to be granted a place in their halls. 

Students will usually, but not always, be given a place in their first choice of hall. 

There is often an application fee (for example, Victoria University’s is $100) to be paid before applications can be processed for selection and then a deposit (Victoria’s is around $600) that must be paid when you accept an offer of a place. Accommodation fees are payable in advance. Typically, you’ll need between $2,000 and $4,000 to pay the first quarterly instalment before moving in. In some halls there may be additional costs, such as electricity, telephone, internet, laundry and food.

Student flat

If you’ve got a group of mates together who are ready to go flatting, the next step is finding a place to live. Check Trade Me, ask a real estate agent, check your student union or contact your university’s student accommodation advisor. 

Every flat will need to pay bond, rent, power, internet and food.

To find out what rights and responsibilities you have as a tenant, check out tenancy.govt.nz. 

…get financially sorted?

StudyLink, a section of the Ministry for Social Development, is responsible for delivering student loans, student allowances and providing scholarships. 

A student allowance is a non-refundable grant, so you don’t have to pay it back. The allowance received each week varies depending on a student’s age, living arrangements, weekly wage and parents’ income. There is a calculator on the StudyLink website to calculate your potential student allowance and you can apply on their website. 

Student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs were increased by $50 a week in 2018. The accommodation benefit also rose last year.

There are no changes this year to the eligibility rules for student allowances or loans.

Unlike a student allowance, a student loan must be repaid. The application process for student loans is also managed on the StudyLink website. You can apply for a student loan to cover the cost of course fees, course-related costs and living costs. 

At the end of each year, StudyLink hands all its student loan records to Inland Revenue, which manages the collection of payments and any interest write-offs.

…meet new people?

Join clubs. There are so many different clubs and societies on offer to students in tertiary organisations. 

Get involved in Orientation Week. Expect the unexpected, but also expect to be introduced to life on campus, including what services are available. 

Check out the student union. These represent the student bodies on the university councils. Student unions organise orientation, support sporting and cultural clubs, and provide support if you’re having difficulty with study, finances or adjusting to university life.

…maintain a balanced lifestyle?

There is no doubt that this is an exciting time – meeting new people, experiencing more freedom, possibly living away from home for the first time. But remember what you’re there for! Don’t be tempted to miss too many lectures and tutorials. Falling behind on grades can affect your student allowance and may mean you have to resit papers.

Make sure you look after yourself. Get lots of sleep, eat healthily, exercise, drink plenty of water, and be safe.


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