Think about teenage wishlists: a car, a relationship even a weekend job. Taking the first steps towards higher education can be just as big not to mention nerve-rattling. Planning your future is a lot to ask from a teenager: it requires answering big questions like, what kind of job do I want? Uni or Polytech? Which one?
You can make the challenge more manageable by breaking it into smaller steps and learning from teens who’ve already jumped these hurdles. Ed. Collective spoke to college students planning to go on to higher education all over the country to learn how they’re piecing together an answer on whether and where to study next.
Callum Hoare, Year 13, Aquinas College, Tauranga
Considering: Otago University in Dunedin; University of Canterbury in Christchurch
Callum: You have to look at what the consequences of your decisions are. So you choose the pathway you want to see yourself in down the track. The career advisors at school helped, but the main thing for me is to talk to people who’ve been there before. My family just wants me to do well; they don’t push me to do any specific thing. I’ve also looked online. Getting the right courses you want to do is important, so you’re not wasting your time.
Callum: When I started NCEA [four years ago], because you kind of had to pick subjects so you weren’t specialising too early. You weren’t fixed into one avenue, because even at this moment, I’m not 100% sure what I wanna do. I’ve got options.
Callum: The opportunities that it gives you. Without a uni qualification, there’s not as many opportunities for getting a well-paying job. It’s also a place you meet people that’ll be friends for the rest of your life. It’s about balancing the academic and social sides of things so you’re doing well but having fun at the same time.
Callum: Maybe medicine or engineering. Possibly to be a surgeon or engineer.
Tessa Matier, Year 13, Mount Maunganui College
Considering: Wintec in Hamilton or AUT in Auckland
Tessa: In school we have one period a week that we do careers to figure out the best job that will suit us and where the best place for us is to study. However, my final decision I will make with my parents and continue to keep them up to date on my decision making.
Tessa: Since Year 9 I’ve been doing research on career options.
Tessa: To get a better paying job in the future.
Tessa: Nursing or midwifery or performing arts
Eva Wilson, Year 13, Tauranga Girls’ College
Considering: Studying medicine at Auckland University
Eva: With the help of my parents, teachers and career advisers I make decisions about what’s next. There are so many options at university, and it can be difficult trying to pick what you want to study. I base my decisions on my strengths. I spend the most time on and work the hardest on subjects which interest me, and they will lead me to a career I will enjoy and can succeed in.
Eva: The decision-making starts at the end of Year 10. This is when we begin to pick what subjects we study at school. These decisions are very important because of the prerequisites each subject has. It is very difficult to pick up new subjects when doing NCEA levels 2 and 3 because of what we have missed in level 1. The subjects we select in Year 10 to take in Year 11 determine the path we go down until the end of college.
Eva: There are many people applying for limited jobs. To get these jobs, you must be the best of the best. Tertiary education has become a requirement for success in many fields of work. Studying at a higher level is challenging and rewarding.
Natalya Baker, Year 12, Tauranga Girls’ College
Considering: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
Natalya: I think about what’s important to me, in the way of subjects I’m comfortable taking and subjects I know will help me later on in life. I asked myself what I want to achieve in school and in my future. Doing this helped me have an idea of what I will do next in my education. My decisions when it came to picking Level 2 subjects also involved which university and courses I’m interested in and researching what requirements were needed. I consulted the careers counsellor with my plans for level 2, 3, uni and my career.
Natalya: I started my decision-making towards the end of Year 11 after we got our benchmark results back. My benchmark results gave me an idea of what subjects were my strong ones and which ones were weak. I felt reasonably comfortable based on these results, along with results throughout the year, I had the prerequisites for subjects that were required for courses I was interested to do at uni.
Natalya: Higher education can open up opportunities towards careers, even if you don’t end up getting a job that you trained and learned for, and it can branch into other career choices. Having a higher education shows employers the effort and commitment you are willing to put into the job and to meet deadlines. Having a higher education can mean you are able to look back to it in the future for possible extensions in your career or another career that has the same or similar requirements.
Natalya: I want to become a paramedic. I chose this because my mum is a theatre nurse and as a child I always looked up to that and how she helped improve and save lives. I also looked up to medicine careers in general as I tend to watch TV shows like Rapid Response and Code 1. I was interested in what they did to help people’s lives as a first response. I love helping people and to be able to do that for a living would be amazing.
Jamie Egging, Year 12, Aquinas College
Considering: University of Otago in Dunedin or University of Auckland
Jamie: I choose things I’m strong at or good at and things I enjoy and go forward from there. I’m more of a science/sport person, so I’ll possibly do something in health science. I talk to my family about it. I’ve mentioned it to a couple teachers, too. I asked them if they think I might be good in that area if they see me as a nurse one day.
Jamie: Mainly at the beginning of Year 11 when I had to choose my options. I had to think about what options would help further on. I have two older siblings and they had to do it, too, so it helped because they’d been there before.
Jamie: Knowing you have a career and a future after your education, knowing there’s something ahead you can rely on. You can rely on your degree and your studies to help you get a job. My family has always been supportive of my choices. My brother’s taking a gap year, so that’s an option but I know they [family] want me to go to uni so I can get a stable career one day.
Jamie: I’d either like to be a paramedic, or a nurse or a midwife, something like that.