UNIVERSITY: Plenty of people don't make it to graduation so it's a good idea to do your homework before starting a course.
UNIVERSITY: Plenty of people don't make it to graduation so it's a good idea to do your homework before starting a course. Allan Reinikka

MY SAY: So you have a QTAC offer, eh?

BEFORE you accept that QTAC university offer, make some calls and find out what you'll really be studying and who's going to be lecturing you.

And talk to some people who are happy in their jobs and never went to uni - the workplace could be your best teacher, if you land a job doing something you enjoy.

It comes as no surprise, to those of us who've jumped through uni hoops for more than five years to get their qualification, that only two thirds of students finish their course within six years, as federal government statistics released yesterday show.

Many students don't realise until they start that there's more hoop-jumping (courses you're not interested in) than good stuff in heaps of Bachelor degree programs.

There would be plenty of reasons people don't finish, but disillusion about this is definitely one of them.

I phoned a few lecturers before deciding which university I wanted to go to and which course I'd do, but I honestly wish I'd spent weeks or months researching given the huge chunk of my life it ended up taking to complete my degree.

The amount of time that was wasted indulging eccentric lecturers, most of whom were disconnected and disinterested in life outside of uni, was staggering.

Of course there were also the gems - the absolutely impressive mentors, the wise men and women who had chosen teaching as their contribution to humanity. Some of these teachers were like family by the time I finished my degree.

Nonetheless, only one in four of the courses I studied every semester were - on average - any use to me in the long term.

The rest just fell away as soon as I passed the exams, never to pop their heads up in any personal or professional context again.

If you have your heart set on a qualification - like you want to be a nurse or teacher - then what I'm saying probably doesn't apply. You simply have to suck it up, and enjoy ticking off each assessment as a step towards that goal.

But if you're not sure, and have been offered a course where the specialisation will really determine your skill set and employability, take your time and put in the work to make the right choice for you.

It's not just the content and skills you'll learn that matter.

The people who teach you and their world views are going to be a big part of your life for years.

The experience will shape you as a person, whether you like it or not.

So before you say yes to your uni offer, quiz the teachers, find students who study under them and work out whether the content and their approach is what you need and want.

Don't let your uncertainty put your career at the mercy of people who may or may not know better.



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