|ADMINISTRATION||LEARNING & TEACHING||SUPPORT|
|Enrolment advice||Course and subject choices||Career development & employment|
|Honours and post-grad study|
|Exchanges, prizes, scholarships|
Assisting students to choose study options
Although, as a unit of study (UoS) coordinator you are teaching first year students for only a part of their degree program, there may be times when they come to you for advice on issues such as how to plan their major, whether they can study honours or go on exchange, or what career prospects await them if they follow their interests in a particular subject area.
Students need clear information about the opportunities available to them, as well as about the requirements they must fulfill, so that they can make good choices in a supportive environment.
If they are not yet sure about their direction, they need to know how to keep doors open and where there are chances to change their mind. At the same time, they need to be aware of the impact that their decisions can have on the length and cost of their degree program and on their future career options.
Students will usually be aware that they can choose or vary their enrolment online through MyUni or in person at their faculty student administration office. However, they may request assistance with information on majors or degree requirements, or with troubleshooting issues they encounter with their enrolment.
- If a student’s query concerns issues related to your subject area, such as the requirements for a major or for honours, it's a good idea to direct them to a formal source such as information in your faculty handbook or website. This way the student can refer back to a reliable information source throughout their candidature, and there will be no chance of misunderstandings.
- If a student fails your unit and it is a pre-requisite for the following semester’s unit(s), you may need to advise them on what choices are available to them if they wish to continue in your subject area.
- Check which faculty and degree a student is enrolled in, before giving any enrolment or degree advice. Many units of study are open to students from a wide range of degree programs and from a number of different faculties.
- If a student's query concerns their enrolment, degree requirements or information about faculty specific rules and regulations, direct them to the information provided by their faculty. This includes information on their faculty website, in their faculty handbook online, or from the student advisors in their faculty admin team.
- For more detailed guidance about their degree planning, recommend that students make an appointment with their degree director or first year course advisor. This is particularly important if they fail a unit that is a pre-requisite for another core unit in their program or if they want to change their degree program, major, or stream. This could also affect the amount of time and the costs involved in finishing their degree.
- The Student Centre deals with more general administration, such as admissions, HECS and domestic fees, timetables, examinations, results and graduations. The Student Centre also issues documents including Academic Transcripts, letters and proof of enrolment.
- International Student Advisers in the International Office can help international students with questions regarding how their enrolment relates to their student visa conditions.
- Make students aware of the HECS census date, as it may have an impact on any changes they wish to make once the semester has begun. The census dates are 31 March for semester 1, and 31 August for semester 2. By this date, students must completed their enrolment administration requirements.
The Careers Centre website has a useful section on Course advice for current undergraduates, designed to help students make decisions about their degree pathways, and addressing questions such as ‘Which major should I choose?’, ‘What if I don’t like my degree?’, ‘How and when can I change degrees?’. . .
There is also a section for prospective students on how to choose the right course, which could be helpful for first year students if they are having trouble with the degree program they are currently enrolled in.
Do strongly encourage students to use the Careers Centre resources and support, right from their first year. However, if they do come to you requesting advice regarding their choice of subjects or degree program, it could be very helpful for them if you, or your tutors, are able to assist them in identifying their strengths and interests on the basis of their performance in your UoS. Remind students about the generic skills they have been able to demonstrate through their assessment tasks, and talk about how these might be applied elsewhere.
Some first year students have a clear idea of what career they want to pursue, while others may want to study subjects that interest or inspire them, but are unsure what kind of a career this will lead to.
- The University Careers Centre website has a section called ‘what can I do with my degree?’, which includes graduate destination data.
- The Careers Centre also assists current students to find casual or part-time work while studying, and provides advice on how this can contribute to their future career. The casual and part-time jobs section of their website includes job listings, information about employability skills, preparing resumes and writing cover letters to future employers. It also includes information on vacation work and internships.
- Careers have also produced a pdf ‘Get set for your career’ which could be helpful to hand out to a student requesting advice.
Much of the coordinator’s energy can become focused on supporting and encouraging those students who are having difficulties. However, it’s good to remember to also encourage those who are showing real talent in your subject area. Part of your role in supporting your students is to encourage outstanding students to make the best use of the opportunities available.
- The end of second semester of first year is not too early to be discussing honours and postgraduate opportunities with those students who show enthusiasm and a high level of competence in your subject area.
- While many students are not eligible for exchange programs until they are in second year, they will generally need to apply a full year in advance. Let them know about the Student Exchange website. You may be asked to write recommendations for students who want to undertake exchanges or internships.
- For information or advice on prizes & scholarships, direct the student to the Scholarships Office. There may also be prizes that you can nominate your students for, so look out for opportunities to encourage and reward them.