What exactly do we mean by university? For a lot of people in Australia, university and ‘higher education’ are used interchangeably. However, university is only one kind of further education; TAFE, for example, is another kind.
In Australia, we have 41 local universities, and two overseas institutions operating in our country.
So, why go to university?
Over the past decade university enrolments have been increasing. As it becomes a more accessible form of higher education, the number of rural and regional enrolments have also increased.
The admission process has also become much more accessible, it is no longer reliant on a student’s Year 12 score. Many universities are now offering early entries, advertising alternate pathways, and providing additional entry support for rural young people.
What are the pros of university?
Undergraduate courses take, at least, three years to complete, and in that time you get to learn a great deal about your chosen field. This is great if you love what you study. University graduates can earn larger salaries, particularly if they go on to complete postgraduate study, and there is enough time while you’re studying to do things like internships or volunteer positions. University is also very flexible — by and large, you get to choose a timetable that works for you. It’s also an easy process to defer, modify enrolments or change courses once you’re admitted at a university. Then there’s the social aspect; universities are great places to meet like-minded people, especially if you live in student residence, and there’s always the possibility of international exchange and travel programs, which are pretty widespread across all institutions in Australia, allowing you to learn, travel and grow, all at the same time.
Recently, the Commonwealth Government has delivered an initiative supporting rural communities with Regional University Centres (RUCs). These centres include study spaces, break out areas, computer facilities, high-speed internet, academic support and student support. By early 2021, there will be 25 RUCs in operation, nationally.
With options like off-campus study, alternate entry pathways, full or part-time study loads, you can make studying at university work for your circumstances.
The University Admissions Centre has an online course compass. The compass uses data, like your estimated ATAR and your Year 12 subjects, to show the university courses that students with similar results have received offers for.
The Good Universities Guide explains the application process, and evaluates universities based on a number of factors, such as staff qualifications, student engagement and graduate incomes. You can also explore the Good Careers Guide — offering more than 400 job descriptions and relevant university courses — to see which course could lead to your dream job.