Choosing a course

Some high school students have a strong idea what they want to study at university. Others feel very unsure – and that's okay. It's a big decision and requires time to work through. As a parent, remind your child that they're not choosing a single career when they start their first qualification at AUT. They're simply taking the next step in a career journey that will continue to open up different opportunities. The key is to find something they will enjoy and do well in.

How do I help my child choose a course if they don’t have a career in mind?

Encourage them to consider:
  • What subjects at high school do they enjoy the most?
  • What subjects and activities come more easily to them than to others?
  • What do friends and family say they do well?
  • What are they really interested in?
  • What environments do they enjoy being in?

How do they know what workplace they would enjoy?

Encourage them to think about the following:
  • Are they interested in big companies, small business, inside office jobs, outdoor work, practical hands-on work, lots of writing?
  • Would they enjoy working for people who make a difference to other people’s lives or create things or work with mathematics, keep others fit or deal with science?

How do they find out about the workplace?

Informational interviewing is a great way to find out about jobs and the workplace. This involves talking to people who are doing a job that sounds interesting and asking what the job, company, industry is like. As a parent you can help your child get in touch with a range of people by tapping into networks in your workplace, community, church or sports club.

What if they make the wrong choice?

It's really important for your child to realise their initial decision about tertiary study doesn't determine the rest of their life. It's just the next step along the way. Choosing a major doesn’t limit people to a single career path, just as choosing a job doesn’t limit people to just the one major. In fact, after 10 years in the workforce, few people work in jobs directly related to their undergraduate majors.

Many students also change majors after their first year once they’ve discussed their situation with student advisors and career consultants.

What is the benefit of studying a degree then?

  • Degree level study widens the student’s vision of the world, and helps them develop an independence of thinking and analysis
  • Financial advantages: Research by the Ministry of Education found that most degree level graduates earn more after five years than graduates with non-degree qualifications
  • Many industries consider a degree essential for certain positions that in the past wouldn't have required a degree at all
  • Students develop transferable skills that are in demand by employers and essential for the rapidly changing world of work - including oral and written communication, interpersonal communication, problem-solving, project management, time management and teamwork skills

Last updated: 20-May-2015 2.34pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.