Students walking on campus

How will uni help my career?

Sure, there are plenty of options for school leavers – apprenticeships, a TAFE course, or an ‘entry-level’ job that doesn’t require a qualification. But university has definite advantages. Have a look at the job ads on a website like Seek. You’ll see that almost all of them require candidates to have a degree from a university or other tertiary institution. As well as helping you get your foot in the door, a university qualification can increase your chance of promotion once you’re up and running. This means higher salaries and better job security.

How will uni help me personally?

It’s not just about work prospects: academic study can also really help your personal development. You’ll develop skills in critical thinking and analysis, teamwork, research and writing. At university you will meet people from many different backgrounds and have the chance to get involved in clubs, societies, sports and community volunteer work. You’ll be exposed to the latest thinking in your field, hear from world experts and meet potential employers. Some courses offer work-experience placements and the chance to travel interstate or overseas.

Is university really available to everyone?

Absolutely. Your potential to do well at university is not defined by where you come from or how much money you have. It’s what you do while you’re here that counts. Having the widest possible mix of people, cultures and backgrounds in our classrooms and among our staff makes our university experience unique. If you’re worried that university will be too expensive, remember we offer hundreds of scholarships… and no, they’re not just for high-achievers. Access Scholarships are designed especially for students who need financial help. Commonwealth Indigenous, Student Start-Up and Relocation scholarships are also available if you need them.

What support can I get?

There are many other ways we support you here. Our Careers Centre will help you find part-time work while you study, or a permanent job after you graduate. The Accommodation Information Office knows all about house-hunting, has a huge database of places to rent, and will give you great advice. If you find it difficult to get the hang of doing research or writing assignments, the Learning Centre and Mathematics Learning Centre run mentoring sessions to help you manage your time and build up research, speaking and writing skills. Indigenous students can get support through the Australian Mentoring Experience (AIME), and at Yooroang Garang (on the Health Sciences campus) and the Koori Centre on the main campus. Support services include tutorials, computer access, and an Indigenous Research Library.

What school subjects will I need for the course I want to do at uni?

Depending on what course you want to study, there may be assumed knowledge or recommended subjects that apply. Find out what subjects will help you succeed in your course of interest.

What if I don't get a high ATAR?

We realise your ATAR is not always the best way to rate your potential to do well at university, so we offer several other entry pathways. Flexible Entry looks at the ‘whole you’ – we may ask you to present a portfolio or come in for an interview. The Broadway Scheme allocates uni places for students who have suffered long-term or serious education disadvantage. The Cadigal Scheme provides access (and financial support) to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. The Rural Entry Scheme is for people from rural areas who want to study veterinary science, pharmacy or health science. There’s also an Elite Athlete and Performers Scheme. For most of these alternative entry schemes ATAR is still important. It’s just that we consider your ATAR results along with other factors when we look at your application.

What does university cost?

If you are an Australian permanent resident, an Australian/New Zealand citizen, or have an Australian permanent humanitarian visa, you can enrol as ‘Commonwealth-supported’ student. This means the federal government pays most of your tuition costs and you pay the rest as a ‘top up’ amount. The top-up cost depends on the subjects you study, as some courses are more expensive to teach than others. You will also need to budget for living costs: rent, food, phone, power, travel, entertainment, text books and so on. We estimate that it adds up to around $350 a week for most students.

What is HECS-Help?

Australian citizens and those with a permanent humanitarian visa are eligible for HECS-HELP: the federal government’s Higher Education Loan Program. This lets you pay your ‘topup’ amount upfront with a 20 percent discount, or defer it through the Australian Taxation Office. You start paying it back when you begin working and your income reaches a certain threshold ($44,912 per annum in 2010). So really, you don’t need to pay any course fees while you are at uni.

Can I get a scholarship?

If you do well at school, excel at sport or music, come from a rural area, identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or have major financial limitations, you should definitely try for a scholarship. Best of all, it’s easy to apply. By filling in just one application form, you will be considered for the ‘merit’ and ‘entry’ scholarships for school-leavers (worth $6000), plus many faculty scholarships. Some bursaries are specifically for first-year students to help afford the cost of starting university. Keep an eye on the website for scholarships info and talk to your careers adviser at school to find out whether you are eligible for a scholarship, and how to apply.

Can I take a tour of the University?

Absolutely! We run Visit Sydney campus tours for prospective students and their guests on the last Friday of every month from 4–5pm. Register for a tour. We also run campus tours for school groups. Check with your Careers Adviser or Year Adviser to find out if your school has booked a tour you can join.