What the questions parents need to ask before their child selects a university?
As a parent, you play a vital role in helping your child’s transition to higher education. As if 2020 hasn’t been stressful enough already, young people are experiencing the most competitive year in higher education yet. Not only is the job market tougher than ever but the global pandemic has highlighted the competitiveness of the job market and the need for tertiary qualifications, causing a surge in university applications for February 2021.
Now more than ever, students will be focused on career and employability outcomes when choosing their degree. What can parents do to guide their child to navigate the daunting higher education selection process?
Philip Watson, Associate Vice President of Domestic Development at ICMS, speaks to parents and prospective students every day. “Sometimes parents aren’t sure about how best to help their child with their decisions about what to do after school. They want to offer helpful advice but they also want to tread lightly as it’s important that students take ownership of their own decisions. Knowing the right questions to ask can help students to communicate and and also consider things they might not have thought about before.” he said.
We asked for his top 8 questions parents need to ask their child about their study plans after 2020. “These are some questions parents can ask to assist their child make a smooth transition into their tertiary studies – and ultimately a fulfilling career.”
Even entry level jobs demand experience. Recruiters today are risk averse and when comparing a prospective employee with experience with one without experience, they always will pick the obvious option. Students should find out whether their degree includes a built-in industry training. At ICMS, for example, students complete two terms of real-world industry training in a business related to their area of study. They complete their internship training as they would any other subject and gain credit when their internship is completed. This is organised by the on-site ICMS Work Integrated Learning team.
If students apply directly to the institution, they don’t need to set up a UAC account. They can go directly to their preferred college or university’s Apply Direct page and fill out the application form. If they chose this way to apply, they may receive a conditional offer, pending their final results, which are released on the 18th of December in NSW and ACT.
If students choose to apply through a centralised university application portal, such as UAC, they should make sure that their preferred course is listed as high as possible on their preferences list. The way it works is that the first preference on their list should be the course they’d most like to do. If they meet the admission criteria for this course, then that’s the one they will receive an offer for when the offers go out. In 2020, the ‘main round’ of offers will go out on the 23rd December at 7am. Students can only receive one offer per round so we suggest they choose realistically to avoid a situation where all their friends are receiving offers and they have missed out.
Students should think about whether they want to study online, face to face or a mix of the two modes, called a ‘blended learning’ mode. Of course, if this year has taught us anything it’s that we can’t anticipate what will happen in the future but if students know they’ll want to study face to face, then they should make sure that is the normal mode of delivery offered for their course. Due to COVID-19, most institutions are now delivering classes online but this could have changed by the start of 2021 and students need to ensure they haven’t accidentally enrolled in a fully online course if they’d prefer to get the full face to face student experience at some stage during their degree.
A few institutions, like ICMS, look at factors other than ATAR when assessing a student’s suitability for a course. At ICMS it’s understood that attitude and ambition will not always show up on a student’s ATAR and past academic results are not a true gauge of academic potential and future career success. I am sure we all know of high profile, talented people who achieved great success, despite their high school results. Entry into ICMS courses and degrees is based on performance in specific individual HSC subjects related to the degree chosen.
If your preferred college or university offers a change to attend an application interview, this can be an important way for students and their prospective institution to find out if they are right for each other. Due to the large volume of applicants you’ll find that many of the traditionally large universities are unable to meet all their prospective students personally. The smaller higher education providers, like ICMS, are able to offer prospective students the chance to shine as individuals.
The individual attention that students get at ICMS does not stop at the admissions process. All ICMS students have access to the Student Success Centre (SSC) and help from Academic Learning Advisors who will assist students you to develop academic skills and prepare them for the transition to tertiary student life.
Studying a degree is a big commitment in many ways, not least financially. Students will need to consider tuition fees, living costs and other expenses such as transport, textbooks, food and accommodation. The main expense will be tuition fees. For Australian citizens and permanent humanitarian visa holders, a HELP loan is possible from the Australian government and helps support the cost of tuition. This is called FEE-Help. (Referred to as HECS-Help at the big universities.) These HELP loans are only available from registered higher education providers and registered training organisations.
ICMS Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees are recognised in the same way as all the traditional universities. ICMS undergraduate and postgraduate courses are accredited and regulated through TEQSA.
Likewise, all Bachelor degrees, Graduate Certificates and Master’s degrees from ICMS represent high academic quality in the higher education sector in Australia and globally. Courses offered to international students have the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) Codes which indicate a registered program offered to international students studying in Australia on student visas.
If students aren’t sure that a three-year bachelor degree is right for them or if they are uncertain whether they’ll meet the entry requirements, they should understand that a diploma qualification from a pathway provider like the Aspire Institute is essentially the first year of a bachelor degree. Students can use credits gained in their diploma as a stepping-stone to continue into the second year of a bachelor degree at ICMS or any of the other universities which the Aspire Institute partners with, such as UTS. For those students who are ready to hit the job market, they’d graduate after just 8 months of accelerated study with a great formal qualification.
The take-home for parents of the Class of 2020 cohort is this: the current economic downturn caused by the pandemic demands that to help secure your child’s future career and help with the transition to higher education, you’ll need to gently encourage them to be more decisive and deliberate in their choices than those in previous years have had to be. In what has already been a stressful year, they’ll need to focus on their goals, dig deep into their strengths and act to secure their future.
Parents are welcome to call or email the Domestic Development Office if you have any questions about their child’s application: