Author: Christina Sexton

Thinking about uni for the first time or wanting to give it another go? Whether your skills need an upgrade or you’re contemplating a whole new career path, it’s natural to feel a little unsure about starting a new course. Before you enrol, here are 10 questions to ask yourself.

1. What will I be studying exactly?

Start by researching the nitty gritty, such as which units you will be studying within your degree. You might be surprised to find the subjects that appeal to you are actually in a different course and not the one you had your eye on. Determine which units are required for your course and which ones are the electives you can pick and choose to ensure you’re on the right track.

2. How much do I need to pay and when?

Investing in your future is always a good idea, but it’s important to know what the costs are and how much you need to pay up front. You’ll also need to think about whether you can work, or keep working, while you study. Check whether you qualify for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) or another type of loan scheme or government financial assistance.

10 questions to ask before starting uni

3. Are there scholarships? Do I even qualify for one?

We believe that where you come from doesn’t have to define where you’re going. That’s why ACU offers nearly 400 scholarship opportunities. Some award passion and achievement, others are to help you when times are hard. You can apply for as many as you like, so use our online scholarships portal to find the ones that are right for you.

4. Full-time or part-time? And what’s the difference?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is how much time you can commit to. Full-time study is just that – a full-time commitment that will take up much of your week. However, you will finish your degree in a shorter amount of time. Part-time is particularly popular for postgraduate and non-school leavers who are also juggling work, family, and everything else. 

5. Can I study my course online?

If you love the idea of your commute to uni being from your bedroom to your at-home study zone, then an online course could be well worth considering. Using interactive technologies, you can study from wherever you like. Even your assessments are undertaken online. However, be realistic – are your self-motivation skills up to par? Online courses require discipline and for some it might be easy to fall behind. 

6. Will a university degree take me where I want to go?

Before applying to uni, have a think about what you hope to achieve from studying. Whether you’re embarking on a new career path or you’re needing to upskill, do your background research first to check if the career you’re pursuing requires certain qualifications – and that your intended course will deliver these. Are the alumni from the course employed in the kind of roles you hope to pursue? Is your course taught by industry professionals who know the reality of where your course may lead? Get in touch with the course coordinators who will be able to provide valuable insight. Ask a few questions, and then ask a few more.

7. Can I get credit for study I’ve already done?

It all depends. If you’ve already done some relevant study that could be applied to the new course you’re considering, investigate if you can get recognition of prior learning to gain credit towards your degree. While you can only apply for credit once you have been accepted and enrolled in your course, credited units replace units you would otherwise study. This means you could finish your course earlier, making an investigation into this well worth your time.

10 questions to ask before starting uni

8. Can I check out the campus first? 

Ask yourself how much you know about the campus you’re planning on attending. Come along to Open Day to get a feel for the place, or book a personalised campus tour to see where you’d be studying. Alternatively, you can check out videos of all ACU campuses right now. Picturing yourself on campus, attending classes, and making the most of our facilities will help you make a smart, informed decision. 

9. Is help on hand?

Whether you’re an older first-time student or you’ve been down the uni road before, we can all use a little help. Investigate which support services are available to students. For example, at ACU we offer Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS), which is a voluntary academic support program for first year students who are enrolled in specific units that are known to be tricky. We also offer free counselling services, academic skills support, and our Ask ACU team are available to answer any and all questions. Know what’s available and which services you are likely to need and make sure your campus provides these.

10. Are there overseas study opportunities?

Want to study health sciences in Italy? Global studies in Mexico? Theology in Israel? Learning abroad programs can count towards your degree, and with more than 200 partner institutions, you can choose from a huge range of international opportunities.

More than 25 per cent of our undergraduate students travel overseas during their studies. You can join a study tour, complete an internship, do a semester or short exchange, participate in community engagement, or take our unique international Core Curriculum program. Learning abroad programs can be as short as two weeks or as long as a semester, and there are generous travel grants available.

Ready to enrol? Explore the courses at ACU to get started.

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