CHOOSING YOUR FUTURE-a guide for sorting your preference list

It’s now 2011 and university offers will be released soon! These offers can determine your future so it’s important you are prepared for this life changing piece of information. Now that you have all gotten your HSC results and your ATARs you need to make sure that you make the most of your preference list and get an offer you want. Of course you choose courses which will help you get to the career that you want to have in the future but that’s not all to getting into a course you love. Here is a small guide to help you with your choices.

Choosing a career path

This is kind of important. It will guide you through this next stage of your life and help you choose the right course. Choosing a career isn’t always easy and if you aren’t sure you’ve chosen the right path or still unsure here are some things to keep in mind

  • Firstly make sure you are sure of what you want. Is it something you can see yourself doing everyday? Can it work with the kind of lifestyle you want to live?
  • Are you suited to this kind of work? Maybe you’re good at math or you’re artistic, try and choose a field which can incorporate these skills. Of course you can learn new skills but it always helps and it’s a good place to start if you’re stuck.
  • If you’re still having trouble. Look in the job guide, it has all the jobs and career paths you can take and lots of other useful information.

Choosing a course

You need to choose the course that will get you to the place you want to get. In some cases it’s fairly straight forward but sometimes there are lots of similar courses available in different universities.

  • Look in the job guide. You should have one, or should be able to get one form your school careers advisor. It will tell you the qualifications you need for that job like the kind of course you need etc.
  • Make sure to do your research. You should know what the course is about, and a general overview of what you will be learning and the type of study load it will have. Look in the UAC guide, it’s very helpful.
  • Check the universities. Even though universities offer courses by the same name, they don’t always teach it the same way. It’s always good to go to university open days and to talk to actual students to get a better feel of the course. It’s also about the type of learning environment you want to be in, sometimes this is the deciding factor in choosing a course.

Building your preference list

It’s important not to think oh I already know what course I want, I will get into it. The cut offs are only from the year before and are usually subject to change when it comes to your year as for universities it’s the number of spots free, not your ATAR specifically. Anyway it’s better to be safe then sorry. But how do you choose and fill your list?

  • Choose similar courses to the one you want. So if you don’t make it to your first choice at least it’s similar to what you wanted.
  • Other courses in the same field. If there isn’t that many similar courses try courses in the same field. At least it’s something that can put you in the right direction.
  • Different paths that interest you. You can also always put down courses which caught your eye while researching. Things that sounded interesting and fun. So if you can’t get into whatever else, at least you can do something that interests you.

Tips for your preference list

  • Don’t order your preferences in order of ATAR. It is a PREFERENCE list, not an ATAR list. Put it down in the order of the courses you want to get into.
  • Fill out the whole list. Better safe than sorry. Speaking from personal experience, I was offered my 6th preference; I only had one thing in mind at the end of my HSC but forced myself to pick out the rest. And good thing too.
  • Did better than you hoped? Don’t change your preferences to something with a higher cut off just because you can get into it. ALWAYS go in order of what you want to do.
  • Didn’t go as well as you hoped? Don’t worry, still keep your top preferences, you never know, there might be a drop in interest. Just make sure that the rest are things you still like but are able to get into. Remember universities offer bonus points and schemes. And if not there is always second round offers.
  • Transferring? A lot of people transfer after their first year of university to the course the wanted because they didn’t get an offer. It’s always easiest to transfer from within the same faculty of that uni than it is between other universities as it is an internal transfer. Inter uni transfers involves you having to go through UAC again. Just keep this in mind if transferring might be an option for you.

Last but not least, DON’T STRESS OUT. It’s not the end of the world. This isn’t the only way to get to where you want to, though most direct, if you keep a level head and think properly about your options then you will get there in the end.

So good luck! Hope this last minute information helps you out. Maybe I will be seeing you at uni.

- Julie

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