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Do this to achieve ATAR success in December

Your big hairy audacious goal might be as vague as “To have an amazing life”.

No matter how big your dream goal, you will need a plan to succeed. If you are an ATAR student you will need a plan that leads to a great ATAR score.


SMART goals are different to big hairy audacious goals. SMART goals are not about dreams, they are about nailing down your dreams into specific, measurable goals.


Example: I will improve my English result by 10% next term by asking my teacher, each week, for feedback and advice about what to work on next.

SWOT Analysis

Once you have your SMART goals, do a SWOT analysis. The SWOT will help you to understand your capacity to improve your ATAR score.

Brainstorm your ideas. Have a friend help or just do it alone.

  • Do STRENGTHS first.
    • Do WEAKNESSES second.
  • Do THREATS last.

Don’t think about your ideas. Just write them down as dot points.

Do a USED Analysis to get your action keys to success

You create a list of actions by doing a USED Analysis on the list of ideas from your SWOT.

Take 10 minutes to go through the ideas in your SWOT.

See how you can Use your strengths. Stop your weaknesses. Exploit your opportunities and Deny any threats.

At the end of your USED analysis, your ideas are a list of actions. These actions are your key to success. By undertaking these actions, you will achieve your goal.

Success Planning

Your USED analysis has given you a list of tasks that will lead you to your goal. Work with your list:

  1. Choose the task that you want to do first. (Break it down into smaller tasks if necessary.)
  2. Figure out WHEN you are going to do the first task.
  3. When will it be finished?
  4. How will you know you have done it successfully?
  5. Create your plan for four actions that you want to do first.


    You are now well on the way to achieving your best possible ATAR score. You have your plan. You know what to do.

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to find opportunities that help you to find where you belong.

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    Alternative Paths to uni in WA 2024

    All universities have developed lots of pathways to their door. The choices can be confusing.

    Alternative Pathways to Uni in WA 2024  collates information on all the different pathways and provides:

    • tables of courses offered by each university

    • links to more detailed information for each pathway.

    What’s good about alternative pathways?

    Alternative pathways are frequently free.

    As you do the course you find out about uni life and about a range of degrees that are available. You may find out about less expensive ways of doing your degree or about scholarships. 

    Courses like medicine, which have strict quotas, are not available through alternative pathways, but most courses will be open to you. 

    Although each course is different there are usually 4 subjects like….

    • Academic Writing

    • Research Skills and Information Literacy

    • Communication Skills

    • Essential Maths

    You will meet new people, talk about courses, costs and career options with them, explore the campus and libraries and get familiar with the uni IT systems. 

    How to choose a university

    Pick a university that you would like to belong to. 

     Is it close? Are your friends going there? Does it have a great course? Do you like its ranking by past students

    • Go to that university and meet with a career advisor. Tell them what you would like to study.

    • Ask them what is available to help you to meet entry requirements. They will point you to the best course for you, or design one that meets your needs. 

    Check out Which Uni is Best for You? for a quick overview of West Australian unis.

    Final Tips

    • Students can calculate their anticipated ATAR HERE

    • Students can check the Lowest Offered ATAR Rank in 2023 to see if they have a chance of getting in next year.

    • If something goes wrong in Year 12, you could apply for special consideration through the TISC Access Scheme

    Get your copy of Alternative Pathways to Uni in WA 2024

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    These university accommodation scholarships could help you in 2024

    Staying in uni accommodation on campus is brilliant. You meet new people. There are mentors to tell you what to expect. There are tutors and counsellors and you don’t have to fight for parking on campus or catch a bus.

    It costs over $20,000 to stay in university accommodation. See sample fees and charges HERE.

    These scholarships will make uni accommodation more affordable.

    Regional Scholarships

    The cost of travel and living in the city stop students from the country going to university. This isn’t news. There is lots of financial support available to help overcome this problem. Check out the financial support listed here.

    Relocation Scholarships

    The Commonwealth government supports students who need to relocate to undertake further study. Find more information HERE

    Country Education Foundation

    You can find it’s Scholarship Guide HERE.

    Curtin Regional Accommodation Scholarships 

    The purpose of this scholarship is to support regional students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who are experiencing financial hardship and have contributed to their local community. 

    Check the Curtin Alumni Regional Scholarship HERE. Closing Date: 26 Nov 2021

    Curtin Harry Perkins Memorial Scholarship 

    For students who need to relocate from a regional or remote area to commence an undergraduate degree at Curtin University, who are from a low socioeconomic background and are experiencing financial hardship. Find more at  Harry Perkins Memorial Scholarship.

    UWA Regional Accommodation Scholarships

    The Convocation of UWA Graduates and The University of Western Australia (‘the University’) are providing a scholarship to assist an eligible regional or remote student with the cost of accommodation at University Hall or other college affiliated with the University.

    Find more at Convocation Accommodation Scholarship.

    UWA has a range of scholarships. Check them out HERE.

    UWA Harry Leaver Scholarship

    The UWA Harry Leaver Scholarship assists eligible regional or remote students, preferably from Moora or the Mid West region, with the cost of accommodation while they commence and pursue a Bachelor of Science at UWA.

    The UWA Harry Leaver Scholarship provides $15,000 per annum to support accommodation fees at University Hall, and is administered and awarded by the University of Western Australia.

    Check out these scholarships.

    ECU Regional Accommodation Scholarships

    ECU provide scholarships which have been established specifically to assist students who normally live in a rural, regional or remote area of Western Australia, or in some cases Australia wide, who are having to relocate in order to study at University.

    These include the following scholarships for undergraduate students:

    You can visit ECU Scholarships to find information on opening and closing dates, or to search for other available scholarships.

    Murdoch Regional Accommodation Scholarships

    High achieving regional students are encouraged to apply for a scholarship that will help them with their living costs when they move to the city to study at Murdoch University.

    The George Alexander Foundation (GAF) is offering six scholarships to the value of $24,000 which successful applicants can use towards the cost of their living and accommodation expenses while in Perth.

    Notre Dame University Accommodation Broome

    Notre Dame has limited accommodation support for any students wanting to study nursing in Broome.

    Find out more HERE.

    I will research all accommodation scholarships at West Australian universities and write them up in a separate post.

    Sign up to Infocus Careers News to keep up to date with West Australian career opportunities

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    Planning a gap year? Don’t “waste” your time. Here are 3 gap year stories to inspire your thinking

    Once you step off the education treadmill, you will have time to look around and check out the world. 

    Here are 3 gap year stories to give you some ideas.

    Story 1: Equestrian Centre in the South of France


    Ariel finished school with an ATAR of 93. She didn’t know what she wanted to do although she generally liked sciences rather than arts.

    When she was in Year 10 Ariel went on a holiday to Spain and France with her mother. She loved travelling and discovering other countries.

    While she was at school Ariel made money by babysitting. She had done babysitting for a family of doctors since she was in Year 10. She used the money she made to support her equestrian hobby.

    The Plan

    Ariel decided that she would take a gap year. Work for 6 months to save money to travel to France where she would work as a nanny. 

    What Happened

    She signed on to a couple of French sites, like Seek, searching for jobs as a nanny. She got her babysitting employers to write her a reference. While she was searching she found an advertisement for a job working at an equestrian centre in the South of France.

    She applied for the job and got it.

    She travelled to France and worked for 6 months, earning very little, but learning French, working with horses and seeing lots of the country. 

    After 6 months she came back and is currently studying paramedicine.

    Story 2: Volunteering Abroad


    Chloe studied Certificate II in Hospitality while at school and worked part-time in cafes.

    She comes from a migrant background and is interested in other cultures and the struggles that people go through in other countries.

    The Plan

    Chloe wanted to volunteer abroad. She contacted a couple of the organisations that organise young volunteers abroad and found out what sort of experience she needed and what sort of work she could do. 

    Chloe worked several jobs in coffee shops and cafes in the months after she left school and attended meetings to find out more about volunteering requirements and opportunities. 

    What Happened

    Chloe applied for several opportunities in Africa and Cambodia. After a few months, she was offered a 6-month position working in an orphanage in Tanzania.  

    She paid for her own airfare but her accommodation and meals were paid for. 

    Meeting the orphans and working with them was fantastic. The workers at the orphanage were friendly and helpful.

    Chloe had a single room in a  share house with other volunteers. Her work was mainly caring for children aged 4 – 7 years and cleaning and cooking. She had to walk 3 kilometres to work and back each day and it was hot. The mosquitoes were plentiful. 

    During her 6 months, Chloe made friends with other volunteers from the USA. She learned how tough and corrupt life can be for some children. She also got to visit Serengeti National Park on the way home. 

    Chloe is now buying a share in a cafe that she is managing.

    Story 3: Fashion Design in New York


    Georgia finished school with an ATAR of 73. She is very stylish and spent much of her childhood living in a resort that her parents managed.

    Georgia has a keen interest in fashion and considered specialising in Fashion Design at Curtin University where some of her friends had enrolled in different courses. 

    The Plan

    Georgia saw a career advisor and then began working on a plan to work for a family friend in a resort for 6 months, before going to New York to do a 6-week fashion and design course.

    The cost of doing the course and of living in New York was prohibitive so Georgia got in touch with the College and they were able to arrange for her to share accommodation with some other students.

    What Happened

    Georgia got in touch with the students she was to share with and found out who they were and where they lived. She arranged to rent a room in their accommodation. 

    She borrowed money from her mother as a safety net, then flew to New York a week before the course started. 

    The course was fantastic. New York was fantastic.

    She met people she could never have met in Australia and learned about the New York fashion industry. She also learned practical design skills and about marketing in the fashion industry.

    She had a brilliant time. 

    Chloe returned to Australia and began working in a holiday resort again to pay back the money she borrowed from her mother.

    She has completed a Diploma in Hospitality and has credits to do a Hospitality Degree. 


    Teachers who want to help West Australian students to discover career opportunities need In Focus Careers News

    My quest is to democratize career opportunities in Western Australia by broadcasting opportunities and advice to all who will listen. You can tap into my work. 

    To subscribe email me: 

    Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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    Don’t get stuck at school if you hate it. There’s a better path for you.

    WRONG WAY: Just stop going to school.

    • People from the Department of Education will chase you up to find what’s going on.

    • You will cut ties with your friends and your support network of teachers, student services, VET coordinators, career advisors at school. 

    • You could end up alone and feeling lost. 

    BETTER WAY: Do this preparation.

    Leave School Early


    Step 1: Talk with family and friends

    Don’t shock your family and friends by just dropping out of school. They will get upset and add to your stress. 

    Talk with them, flag the idea of leaving school early. Ask what they think. Get their ideas and support. 

    Step 2: Get expert information

    Your Mum’s best friend or your maths teacher is not the expert that you need right now. There’s a lot to know about leaving school. Talk to an expert whose full time job it is to know about career pathways.  

    This mind map provides links to expert information about leaving school in WA.  Play with different links to see what’s available. Write down questions to ask your career advisor. 

    Meet with your school career advisor

    Take a list of questions. 

    • If you don’t know what you want to do, they will explore different opportunities with you. 
    • They can help you to get a job application ready. 
    • They can link you with an apprenticeship/traineeship company that employs lots of apprentices. 

    Jobs and Skills Centre free information and advice

    Jobs and Skills Centres are co-located at TAFE colleges. There are 17 across WA and they provide free information, advice and support. 

    Industry Training Hubs

    If you live in the Wanneroo or Armadale areas, engage with the Industry Training Hub. They are set up to help students to engage with people from different industries to find out what is involved. 

    Private Career Practitioners

    Look up “career practitioners” in your “suburb”. There will be career practitioners who can be employed to guide you through the process from school into a job or further study. 

    Step 3: How to leave school

    • Get your career advisor and family to help you to arrange a full-time job, enrol in a full-time course or a combination of both. 
    • Get your parents to fill out an Exemption from full time schooling and submit it to your school.

    It needs to go to the Minister for Education. They won’t come back with a flat “no” but you may be asked to add some more information to your application. 

    Once you have permission you can leave:

    • Get a copy of your latest report.
    • Get references from supportive teachers.
    • Check with the front office to see if you have forgotten anything. 

    Say goodbye to your life as a school student 


    Common pathways from school

    1. Nursing

    2. Computing pathway

    There are so many computing jobs. Learn the hard, foundation, boring stuff. It will put you way ahead of others who focus on pretty, creative computing. 

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News 

    In Focus Careers News is the ultimate solution for high school career news and advice. With 150 West Australian high schools already subscribing, our newsletter provides unbiased and up-to-date information on a wide range of career options.  Don’t miss out on this valuable resource – subscribe now and give your students the career guidance they need to succeed.

    Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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    Is the uni bus right for you?

    Fullscreen capture 28082017 70902 PM.bmp

    Are your friends going to uni? Do you have FOMO? 

    Did the drivers of the uni bus visit you at school and sell you a ride?

    Are your parents frightened that if you don’t get off the bus you will get lost?


    Just because the university bus is ready to pick you up from school, doesn’t mean that you have to get on.

    Maybe you need to wait for the next bus. Maybe you want to get on the backpacker bus. Or the travel bus. Or the Harvest Trail bus. Or the job bus.

    If you are not sure what to do at uni, DON’T GET ON THE BUS.


    Defer University for a Year

    If you are not sure what course you want to do, you can still apply for a place at uni and, once you get offered a place, defer taking it up for a year.

    After working for a year you will have a clearer idea about which units to enrol in.

    Check out Year 12 What Next? Gap Year Ideas for 2022.

    The Uni Bus Fare is Expensive

    Buying a uni course is not like buying a car. You can’t sell your used course to the next buyer who comes along.

    If you get off the bus before you get to the destination YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY. 

    If you fail, you still have to pay.

    If you change courses, you still have to pay for the part you used of the one you left behind.


    There are hundreds of courses available through TAFE. If you are unsure what course you might like to do or how to enrol find a Jobs and Skills Centre near you for career guidance.

    Many TAFE courses are now on a free list. 

    You can do a trade course or a course that reflects 21st Century jobs in cyber security, dental technology, and agriculture.

    Lots of TAFE courses earn credits at uni. 


    Still not sure which ride is best for you?

    If you are tired of trying to decide what to do and feeling overwhelmed by your choices it may be time to think about hiring a Certified Career Advisor to guide you towards your ideal next chapter.

    Contact me for a confidential discussion at M:0434056412 or

    Infocus Careers is an independent organisation which is solely supported by insanely great subscribers who share information with me, support each other and help me to pay my bills.

    I can talk about careers under water so if you would like to chat about how I can help you to improve your career or the services you deliver, give me a ring on 0434056412 or email me at


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    Sending an apprentice to Bunnings for a can of striped paint is now against the law in WA

    Workplace Initiation Rituals

    Sending a new apprentice to Bunnings for a can of striped paint.

    Forcing new employees to clean work toilets with a toothbrush.

    Telling the new employee to drink goldfish water.

    Just a bit of fun

    Bosses laughed at these workplace initiation rituals which were designed to humiliate new workers. They were seen as “Just a bit of fun”.

    Laughing at the new workers’ humiliation shows poor leadership and flags a shitty work environment. 

    These “fun” pranks are called “psychosocial hazards” and they can impact on the physical and mental health of workers. 

    Psychosocial hazards include:

    • bullying 
    • excessive work demands, and
    • poor leadership practices

    It just got harder to ignore, overlook or explain away psychological hazards as “just a bit of fun”.


    New Code to create great workplaces

    There is a new Code of Practice called Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace Code of Practice published by the WA Occupational Safety and Health Commission to support changes to the WA Occupational Safety and Health Act.

    Implications for School Students

    Work Experience

    Doing work experience or work placements is usually pretty safe. Any organisation that is willing to volunteer to support your school has their heart in the right place. 

    School based traineeships and apprenticeships

    Students doing school based traineeships and apprenticeships may be more at risk as they are in the workplace longer and may be in workplaces where there aren’t many people.  

    Part time work

    Part time workers are most at risk. Young part time workers have low status in the workplace and are vulnerable to being treated badly.

    Get to know the Code of Practice so that you know what your rights are.  Part time workers are usually not members of a union so they can’t relay on support if they are treated badly. The Code of Practice is designed to support you and other vulnerable workers and you don’t need to be a union member to get this protection. 

    You can check out the list of things that the Code is trying to stop in Section 2.

    Long term career impacts

    There will be workplace procedures set up so that employees have someone to talk to about bad work practices. Workplace inductions will need to make sure that new workers are aware of how to make a complaint. 

    There will need to be plans to eliminate toxic work practices. 

    Hopefully support for young FIFO workers will improve, women will face less harassment in mining sites and isolated workplaces will need to be safe for all workers.

    Check Psychosocial Hazards Overview HERE. 

    Thanks Danielle

    Danielle Kabilio told me about these changes when we were having a coffee last week. She is a Psychosocial Coach at Careers West and is helping workplaces to put in new systems and managing grievances that must be addressed under this Code of Conduct.

    She sent in information and links for me to pass on.

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to discover career opportunities in Western Australia

    Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers

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    Leaving Year 12? These Gap Year ideas may interest you


    “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” ― Kobi Yamada                                                             

    It takes courage to take the leap from school and out of a supportive education and training world. These gap year ideas may help you to build your wings.  

    Volunteer Overseas

    Projects Abroad

    With projects based on the edge of the world’s best safari and close to Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s no wonder that Tanzania is one of our most popular destinations.

    We’ve been based in Tanzania for over 12 years, giving us time to cultivate meaningful placements. Why not explore this magical country and leave a positive impact of your own?

    In Tanzania, you’ll help support Maasai communities. Consider the following options:

    These projects are available to people of all ages, so get involved! For more insight, read Laura’s story of her experience volunteering in Tanzania.

    Check out opportunities HERE. 

    Work Overseas

    LetzLive has opened up its working holiday opportunities in the UK, Thailand, USA and New Zealand. 

    Check out the programs provided by LetzLive.

    Travel Australia

    Harvest Trail

    The horticulture industry relies on people to pick their fruit and veggies. In the past the pay and conditions have been shocking, but the pandemic caused the industry to change work practices. The Harvest Trail is a more regulated employment trail for nomads. 

    You can find Harvest Trail jobs HERE.

    You can apply for Relocation Assistance HERE


    If you’re 18-25 and looking to start a career in a meaningful and exciting industry, an AgCAREERSTART gap year will help you gain skills and knowledge to grow the farms of the future.

    4 young farm workers walking and talking, next to a red vehicle

    Over 10-12 months you will live in an exciting regional location, earn a nationally recognised qualification and build life-long industry connections.

    • Get hands-on experience

    • Increase your confidence

    • Work outdoors and discover rural and regional Australia

    Find out more HERE

    CBH Employs 1000 people on the wheat bins

    This is from the CBH site:

    Working as a CBH harvest casual is a great opportunity to explore, live, work and immerse yourself in regional Western Australia (WA) for a short period of time while earning decent wages.

    CBH manages sites all across regional WA where our growers deliver their grain once it has been harvested, and each year we recruit a pool of harvest employees to help us keep these sites moving, getting growers and transporters in and out safely, quickly and back to harvesting.

    Check out the opportunities HERE. 

    Hospitality and Tourism

    The boom in tourism within Australia is being slowed by the shortage of workers in resorts, coffee shops, motels, road houses and caravan parks.

    Sandfire Roadhouse

    Look for these jobs on sites like Seek or phone/email the local tourist bureau and ask where to find a job in the area.

    If you are 18 you can earn more money serving alcohol than cleaning or serving in a cafe. You will need your Responsible Service of Alcohol certificate to be able to work serving alcohol.

    If you can find a job in a resort or motel chain, take that, it is more likely to pay sick leave, holiday pay and superannuation. Wherever you get a job, make sure your pay and conditions are legit. Ring or email the Fair Work Ombudsman if you need to check.

    Work on a Station

    Can’t ride a motor bike or muster cattle? Maybe you can make scones or serve coffee. 

    Ellenbrae Station, halfway between Derby and Kununurra, sells thousands of scones to tourists who travel up the Gibb River Road every year.

    Ellenbrae Station Scones

    Most stations supplement their incomes through tourism.

    If you can clean you can probably find a job supporting the station tourism industry. Look for jobs on sites like Seek.


    Gap Year in Defence (skip this section if you don’t want to try defence opportunities)

    The Australian Department of Defence provides a structured, paid path to discover lots of stuff. 

    You meet lots of new people from different places and find out about their lives. You will probably make friends for life with people you meet at this time.

    You get to leave home without having to pay for rent, electricity and food.

    You learn new skills. Trying lots of different roles and learning new skills will help you to decide what you like and don’t like, without spending time and money at uni or TAFE.

    You find out about life in the army, navy or air force.

    You can check out Defence Force Gap Years HERE

    Army Reserves – if you would like to serve part time

    If you want to do something really different on a part time basis, while helping the community and giving something back to our country, you can apply to join the Navy, Army or Air Force Reserve. There are a range of Reserve jobs in every category, so please check the entry requirements on each job page. Find out more HERE.


    Need Experience?

    Once you leave school it is tricky getting work experience as employers aren’t insured to cover unpaid volunteers.

    In Western Australia you can apply for volunteer work through Volunteering WA. People put in requests for volunteers to them and they place people and cover them through the Volunteering WA insurance.

    The Volunteering WA people said that when you first start with them they are careful of the sort of work they let you do until you have proven yourself.

    Free Tips

    Youth Central 

    Check out Youth Central. It’s a Victorian Government site that has clear, unbiased tips on taking a gap year.

    How to Prepare for a Gap Year – Tips from Omio

    Omio has sent me a link to their Gap Year Guides which delivers great resources to prepare for a Gap Year.

    The guide contains detailed information on:

    • The benefits of taking a gap year

    • How to organize a gap year step by step (e.g., accommodation, transportation, entry requirements & travel restrictions)

    • Itinerary suggestions and tips for travelling in Europe on a budget

    • Volunteering in Europe (10 suggestions)

    • How to successfully find and apply for an internship in Europe

    You can find all the articles here:

    Good luck with your plans for 2023.

    Subscribe to In Focus Careers News to have West Australian career opportunities delivered to your inbox

    Bev Johnson Director, In Focus Careers


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    Year 12: Becoming clear on what to do next year.

    If you are in Year 12, you need to decide where you want to belong when you leave school. 

    Most of us don’t remember our dreams. Your dreams, or even your vague ideas will come in a whisper, not in a shout. Here are some tips on how to listen to your heart.

    Tip 1:

    Take the best stuff from your life now into your new life when you leave school.

    Career ideas don’t come fully formed. This simple trick will help you to see some possibilities. 

    Make a list of the things you do in a day. This list provides you with the raw material that you need to decide where you want to belong.

    • Get up
    • Have breakfast
    • Bus to school.
    • Maths
    • English
    • etc

    Expand your list by adding what you do on a weekend or on holidays or things you liked when you were younger.

    • Play basketball
    • Go to the beach
    • Customer service at Brumby’s

    When you have finished your list, highlight the things you like doing most. Check out those things and use them to guide your decisions about where you want to belong next. 

    Ideas are most at risk when they are vague and new. 

    Ideas need pampering or they will fade away.

    Talk to your career advisor to get ideas about how you can do more of what you like doing most. 

    You can also check out how to do more of what you like through a free appointment with a careers counsellor at a Jobs and Skills Centre. 

    For more information go to Get on track to uni in WA 2023 or .Year 10 Magic Happens: Careers Handbook

    Tip 2:

    It is tricky to be clear about what is important to you 

    For Donald Trump money and power are important.

    For the Wiggles it is entertaining little kids.

    You can figure out what is important to you through this game:

    • Write a list of 8 people who you like. They don’t even have to be real people. Your dog could be on the list.
    • Once you have finished your list write three things that you like about each person.

    If you included your dog you might have:

    MIssy – Friendly, fun, understanding.

    You will have 24 different things that you like.

    Group together similar things. The things that appear most are those things that are most important to you. 

    Let those things guide your decisions about where you want to go next.

    If making money and having power is important to you, you won’t want to go to care for orphans in Cambodia.

    If entertaining little kids is important to you, you might check out early childhood education. That is where the original Wiggles started. 

    For more information go to Get on track to uni in WA 2023 or .Year 10 Magic Happens: Careers Handbook

    In Summary

    From little things big things grow. 

    Start by listening to what you like now. From those ideas you can grow your future.

    Check to see if those thing sounds true to your values. 

    Stand on the shoulders of giants. Ask older people for information. Ask what they did. We all want you to succeed. 

    Get on track to uni in WA 2023                                   Year 10 Magic Happens Careers Handbook

    Get on track to uni in WA 2023

    To discover career opportunities in Western Australia, subscribe to In Focus Careers News

    In Focus Careers News

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    Are you going to uni next year? Find out where, what, when and who you want to meet.

    You can use the skills you developed when coming to high school to guide your transition from high school to uni.

    12 year old girls

    Tip 1: Where

    Online Study V On Campus 

    Get your student number and connection to the internet sorted. You will be given instructions about how to do this around Christmas time with the offer that comes after the final TISC results come out.

    If face to face classes are available on campus, go to them. Uni is so much more than curated information about different subjects.

    Lecture theatre

    On Campus Accommodation

    If you CAN stay on campus, do that.

    We want students to stay at the on campus accommodation, whether they are from South East Asia or South Perth.

    Professor Harlene Hayne, Vice Chancellor Curtin University

    St Catherine's College, Curtin

    St Catherine’s College Curtin

    There are people employed by residential colleges who have knowledge, networks and power to create an amazing university life for you. You will make friends for life, get help with study and create networks that will lead to jobs. 

    $$$$$$$$: Check accommodation scholarships HERE.

    Public Transport

    If you will be taking public transport to uni, figure out the best route and timetable and find out how to get your SmartRider ticket.

    Tertiary SmartRider



    Not being able to find parking when you are under pressure can break you.

    Get your parking stickers/app during the holidays. Find where you can park and where to find parking during peak hours. Try to find free parking, although most good free spots will be taken by students who have been at uni for a while. D7 at Curtin Bentley — StudentVIP

    Campus Layout

    Go to movies, food van markets, play sport or join clubs on campus. Each baby step you make to become familiar with your uni will make your transition easier.

    Walk around the campus. If you are doing engineering, go to the engineering building. Check out the room and lab locations. Find the library.

    Whatever course you are doing, find your buildings and know where your classes will be held BEFORE Orientation Week.

    Tip 2: What Subjects

    If you aren’t certain which subjects to take,  do a uni prep course – its free and it will help you to make better subject choices. You will be able to go to the same campus as your friends who are leaping into their degree straight away, and you will learn enough to be clear about what course you want to do before you start your degree. 

    • About 30% of students change courses as they find out more about their degree. This is an expensive path to take. Each subject/ unit at university will cost around $2000. You can check how much each unit will cost on the UWA Fee Calculator.
    • Only 26% of university students go straight there from school on their ATAR results. Consider taking a gap year before you go to uni. You will expand your world and get clearer about what you want to do next. Check out Gap Year Ideas 
    • If you are worried that you won’t ever start to study again if you stop studying after Year 12, go to uni and choose broad subjects that allow you to specialise later, when you know more about the course or working in that industry.
    • In response to COVID disruption ALL universities in Western Australia have significantly increased the amount of support that is available to future students. Use the free career advice that is available at every university.

    Tip 3: When – Timetable

    Lectures, tutorials and workshops will be scheduled throughout the week. You choose your timetable.Your school timetable is a good model to follow when choosing your class times.

    Treat uni like school. Organise your timetable so that you go to uni every day. Don’t be tempted to pack your scheduled times into a few days and just go during scheduled times. Spend your “free time” doing your research and assignments. 

    If you treat uni as a job, with a 40 hour week and some good study planning you are on a good path to success. Schedule breaks where you meet your friends and where you play sport or engage in club activities. A mix of work and play is what you need to have a great time at uni. 

    Tip 4: Friends

    The friends you make at uni can stay with you for your entire life. 

    There will be so many people to choose from. If you go to Curtin, there will be about 50,000 people to choose from. If you go to Notre Dame in Fremantle, which is our smallest uni,  you will have about 6,000 to choose from. 

    If you pick clubs or sports or volunteer activities from the amazing choice that is available, you will find friends there who have the same interests as you. You can join clubs during Orientation Week. 

    If you arrange to stay at university accommodation you will meet lots of new people there. 

    So just 4 Tips

    1. Decide what uni to go to and how to get there.
    2. Decide what to study, or at least choose a path that will help you to decide. 
    3. Look at timetables for this year. The chances are that they won’t change much next year. You will be able to draft your study timetable  before Orientation Week. 
    4. Look forward to meeting a bunch of new, wonderful people who like doing the same things that you do. 

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