In Focus Careers

Helping People to Succeed


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Cracking the Uni Word Code

Uni Words

Word Meaning
Bachelor Degree The first degree you study at university is called a bachelor degree e.g., Bachelor of Arts. Bachelor degree courses take three to five years to complete.
 

Chancellor

The ceremonial head of a university – a person of high status who is chosen because of the values they bring to the university.
 

 

 

Courses

A course is a block of subjects or units that make up the degree. A 3 year bachelor degree course could involve 24 units:

·          12 Level 1 units @ 6 subjects per semester

·          8 Level 2 units @ 4 subjects per semester

·          4 Level 3 units @ 2 subjects per semester

You can mix this up a bit once you have started your degree. Do this with the support of a lecturer or tutor.

Dean The head of an academic faculty. E.g. Dean of Education
Degree A degree is the standard university qualification and is recognised worldwide.
 

Faculty

The academic staff who work in a division or school at a university, or even the school itself, like the Education Faculty or the Engineering Faculty.
Fresher A new undergraduate. A first year student.
 

 

Lecture

This is where an expert in the subject delivers information in a one hour presentation to a large audience. You could find yourself in a lecture with 400 students.

Lectures ARE NOT compulsory. You could do research yourself and find out the critical information that the lecturer will give. You ARE expected to do reading associated with the lecture.

 

Levels

Level 1 = your first year

Level 2 = your second year Level 3 = your third year

Major A major is a series of units in a field that you carry through your degree. You can major in history, for example, which means you do history units through each year of your degree.
 

 

Orientation Week

Orientation Week is conducted the week before university lectures start. This is where you find out about the library, meet your lecturers, and sometimes sort out your timetable for lectures and tutorials. You also learn about additional support that can help you to succeed like study groups. There are lots of social events and you will meet students who will be in your group for the next few years and who maybe colleagues throughout your career.
 

Tutorials/ Tutes and Workshops

These ARE compulsory. This is where you work in a small group of about 20 with a tutor who is an expert in the field. Tutorials help you to gain in depth knowledge about the subject that was delivered in the lecture.
Undergraduate A person who has not yet completed their bachelor degree.
Vice Chancellor The manager of the university – the academic and administrative head.

The Open University has a comprehensive list of uni words that goes into more detail.

Go to the What I Wish I’d Known page on the First in Family to Go to Uni site and the Tips for Starting 1st Year Uni Youth Central site for more in depth information.


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Open Day Cheat Sheet

University open days can be like the Royal Show.  There are a million things to see and everyone is trying to show or sell you something.

Open Day

4 Steps 

Make the most of your open day by taking these 4 steps.

1 Identify Three Areas to Focus On

You might be interested in engineering, education and law for example, so focus on those.

2 Visit the University Website

For each of the 3 areas of interest identify 3 courses that sound good. If one of your focus areas is engineering you might choose to look in more detail at:

  • Chemical engineering
  • Metallurgical engineering, and
  • Civil engineering

latvian clog dancingHaving that plan will give you a good direction for your explorations and you will be less likely to get lost listening to stories about Latvian Clog Dancing.

3 Locate the Buildings on a Map

Locate the faculty buildings on the university website and plan your route around the 3 areas you have chosen.

Plan to go back to visit other things interesting things that you see and take a break at one of the food vans at about half way through to gather your thoughts.

4 Start Your Expedition

UWA open dayGo to the Open Day and talk to current students about what they like and hate and what they plan to do when they graduate.

Find lecturers and ask them about the best and worst bits of their subject/course.

Check the displays.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE

Make an appointment to speak to one of the career advisors or student ambassadors about your favourite course(s).


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Is the uni bus right for you?

Many year 12s get onto the uni bus because:

  • Their friends are getting on and they don’t want to be left behind.
  • The uni bus came for them while they were at school.
  • Teachers pointed to the bus and said it was a good way to move forward.
  • NOT getting on the bus means finding your own way in an unknown world that is changing at a dizzying pace.

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

Universities want your business. 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 drop out you have to pay. If you change courses you have to pay for the one you left behind.

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 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.

That will cost you nothing and you can sit and play computer games all year OR…

Make the Most of Your Gap Year

Find out how to make the most of your gap year, stay in touch with friends and have an adventure by checking out the information on the Youth Central site.  The writer of the gap year tips says that her year off helped to increase her motivation to go to uni and work towards her career. Others found that they didn’t actually want to go to uni during their gap year.

Youth Central is a government site so it isn’t trying to sell something. It is a Victorian Government site so talks about the VCE which is the equivalent to WACE, SACE etc.

Gap Year Experience Providers

An online search of Gap Year Opportunities will show hundreds of companies inviting you to take up THEIR gap year program. You can volunteer abroad, take a work travel holiday overseas, go into defence forces, there are hundreds of opportunities.

If you choose to go with one of these companies ask for references from previous clients and follow them up. You don’t want to lose your money or get stranded overseas.

TAFE

There are hundreds of part time and full time courses available through TAFE. If you are unsure what course you might like to do or how to enrol find a Careers Centre  near you for careers guidance.

Lots of TAFE courses earn credits at uni. And lots of TAFE courses are heavily subsidised so you can reduce the cost of your fees.

Government Support

You need to check to see if you can get any payments or support during your gap year.

The Department of Human Services has a whole section for school leavers that includes information about allowances, jobs, career choices, trades and full time work.

The West Australian Careers Centre has a 10 Step Job Search Plan which you might find helpful.

Still not sure which ride is best for you?

If you areBust Small 72dpi 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 on M:0434056412 or Bev.J@infocus-careers.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Teachers’ Big Day Out at Curtin Uni

Curtin’s bright new shiny things were explained at the Teachers’ Big Day Out on May 8th.

It has 58,000 people studying at Curtin….that’s bigger than Bunbury! And they are designing the Bentley campus like a city.

There is  a new road going through the centre of the campus, they are building 1000 new accommodation units for students, visiting academics and industry partners, they have food vans and entertainment.

It is modern and cool and has an enviable academic reputation.

Hense_BewleyShaylor_FORMVice Chancellor Deborah Terry said the 30% international student population is a great advantage as that helps prepare students to work in a global market.

Kim Flintoff from Curtin Learning Futures – Eco Challenge

The Eco Challenge is a free online UN Environment Programme game organised by Curtin Uni. There are two players per team and they play to align the demands of government, commerce, health and industry to manage a water supply.

Kent St and Rossmoyne High Schools are among previous winners. Now the Eastern States Schools are entering the Australian competition!!

The competition is structured in two tiers – national and international. Teams are ranked nationally and top teams will be acknowledged in the international competition.

For more information go HERE

Civil and Mechanical Engineering 

Hedgehog

Civil and Mechanical Engineering was showcased via their link between Curtin and the NASA Jet Propulsion Unit where one Curtin student gets an internship each year.

The Jet Propulsion Unit created the Hedgehog robot that rolls and tumbles in micro-gravities. The student who had recently returned from the internship was VERY excited about the top secret research work he had been doing on lightweight, agile drones.

These guys were geeks. They told us to check out the Earth through Saturn’s rings as photographed by the Cassini probe. Awesome photos.

casini-earth

Curtin also works with NASA on the Fireballs in the Sky project that encourages people to download an app and start recording meteorites as they see them.

Curtin Business School

I clearly didn’t understand the prestige associated with the Curtin Business School gaining accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

 

This is a VERY BIG DEAL…. apparently. That alliance has to be good for graduates looking for jobs.

The CBS covers courses from Commerce to Law and Marketing. There is such a big range that can be seen HERE.

Curtin Health Sciences

This presentation got taken over by people focusing on getting into medicine. I have written about Curtin’s Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery HERE.

There is strong uptake of students doing Oral Health Therapy with students getting jobs even before they finish their degree. Physiotherapy graduates get full time work pretty quickly while some other graduates take longer to find a full time position.

Humanities

The bright new shiny thing in the Humanities Department is the Animation and Game Design degree.

There is portfolio entry to most humanities courses if you can demonstrate equivalence to Curtin’s ATAR entry through the submission of a portfolio that evidences your academic achievements, qualifications and ability.

Engineering 

The key message about engineering is that you need to have Maths Methods to ATAR level and at least one of: Chemistry ATAR, Physics ATAR, Engineering Studies ATAR or equivalents.

There will be early entry applications to Engineering this year. Applications use predicted ATAR scores and acceptance into a place is conditional on actual ATAR scores meeting minimum requirements.

10/10 for Organisation

I was impressed. Parking organised. Coffee shop prepped. Great presentations. Driverless bus on display. Experts available during breaks.

If their courses are as good as this information day there is little wonder Curtin attracts 50.6% of school leavers’ first preferences.

Driverless bus

 

 

 


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Curtin Medicine Information Evening

The crowd spilled over from the first lecture room into a large lecture theatre, which then spilled over into a courtyard with a giant screen. The presentation was streamed to regional and remote areas and interstate.  The Curtin School of Medicine Information Session on Wednesday 26th April was THE event in town.IMG_7629Curtin offers the only direct entry  Bachelor of Medicine program available to school leavers in WA and there is clearly heavy-duty competition for the places. Last year there were 60 students chosen from 1500 applicants with some students gaining entry through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, rural and equity places.

In 2018 there will be 70 places available, mainly to school leavers although there will be some places available to non school leavers. There are no places for international students until 2021.

Curtin Generally

A key difference that I noted in the Curtin course was the focus on problem solving across a team of health professionals. Students work with others from pharmacy or physiotherapy or nursing and so on to learn how to deliver a holistic approach to health care.

The small cohort of students resulted in close relationships with educators.

The staff were excited by the new program and open to new ideas. Students felt that they were part of a team that was building a great course and great reputation for the Curtin Medical School.

There was talk about High standards of professional behaviour. I thought that was a bit vague but found further explanation on the Curtin siteIMG_7636

ATAR

You will need to get an ATAR  score of 95+.

ATAR Chemistry 

Ensure you have done chemistry as an ATAR subject. If you haven’t studied chemistry contact the Medicine Admissions Coordinator Jo Washington King, to find out what to do.

It is also desirable that applicants have also studied maths at ATAR level.

 UMAT

While you are studying your butts off trying to blitz your ATAR score you will also need to do the Undergraduate Medical Admissions Test which is on 26th July in 2017. Registration for the Test closes on 2 June.

The Australian Council for Education Research administers the test and provides instructions and sample tests for you to practice on. Preparation videos are also available once you register for the test.

The test lasts 3 hours and you will need to score at least 50 on each section:

▶ Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving

▶ Understanding People

▶ Non-verbal Reasoning

TISC

Students apply to Curtin via the normal TISC process which opens in July and closes on 29th September but if you achieve the UMAT threshold your school will need to complete the Predicted ATAR form  and send it to Curtin so that they can start planning the interviews, which are the final stage in the selection process.

Curtin is looking to give guidance to schools on how to predict ATAR scores.

If you score a higher ATAR than your school predicted you may get an interview in the second round that occurs in mid January, after ATAR results are published on or around 19th December.

If you don’t get an interview in the first round it is suggested that you start preparing your Plan B straight away.

Preferences

When looking at who to interview Curtin looks at ATAR scores and UMAT scores. They don’t look at which university you put down as your first preference.

Multiple Mini Interviews

Those students who score highest on their ATAR and UMAT will be given an interview.

The interview process is made up of 8 Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs).  You move from each interview into 8 different rooms. You are given a question and have 3 minutes to prepare your answer, then you go into the room and give your response for 8 minutes. There are two rest breaks. The MMI’s take 88 minutes.

I have heard this process described as an endurance test.

Interviews are done by trained MMI interviewers who are trying to determine your suitability for the medical profession.  YouTube videos and sites like MedStudents Online and Whirlpool will give you some ideas about what to expect but your experienced interviewers are not looking for rehearsed answers, they want to know about you and your suitability for the profession.

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Tips from Current Students

Two current students who just started in February had ideas fresh in their mind about why they were successful:

  • Do your research and learn about the opportunities that are available through different medical professions. (Curtin is focusing on enhancing the delivery of medical services to rural and Indigenous people so you might want to consider careers in those fields.)
  • Be clear that medicine is really for you. Your interviewers will be trying to find the most committed applicants and to discover what is driving their decisions. Be yourself. There is nothing better than seeing applicants who know why they want to do medicine and who are passionate about their decision.
  • Get work experience at a hospital or research facility.
  • Learn about the differences between the undergraduate degree offered by Curtin and the post graduate degrees offered by UWA and Notre Dame.
  • Go to the open days at each university. There will be current students at the Curtin open day to talk with you.
  • Don’t try to cram academic knowledge for the UMAT. You need to learn how to do UMAT types of tests.

You will find it intimidating. You will be out of your comfort zone. People talk about how many drills they have done. 

  • Both students said human biology at ATAR level was useful to them.
  • There is a new Curtin Medical Society. Check out the scholarships on offer through there.

Making the Grade

Curtin has an equity program and a support program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. You can read one student’s story HERE.

Tough Gig

There were Year 10 students at the Curtin presentation! They were hanging off every word in their quest to get the edge on all of the other aspirants. I bet they will be back next year AND the year after.

There is no doubt getting into medicine is a tough gig.

And being a doctor is a tough gig.

Last year I provided career advice to a brilliant ATAR student who said there was no way he was going into medicine. Both of his parents were doctors and he saw the emotional toll it was taking on them and on their family life. He thought he might like to become a physics teacher.

As technological and scientific advances snowball pressure to keep up with emerging knowledge will add stress to an already stressful life.

Despite all of these drawbacks there are hundreds of people lining up to get into medicine. Good luck with your decision.

Doctor


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First in Family to go to Uni

 

Working Class Disrupters

This year 51% of university enrolments were students who are the first in their family to go to university. These are mainly working class kids who are taking advantage of opportunities.

The attrition rate is high. Recent research has shown that nearly 50% of first year students consider dropping out and 18% do.

As a working class kid who was the first in my family to go to university I had no idea. Eight hours of lectures and a few tutorials?? Piece. Of. Cake.

It wasn’t.

My parents were proud of me but didn’t know what to ask. I was out of my depth and didn’t know what to tell them.

I pretended and tried and failed. And eventually succeeded.

If you are the first in your family to go to university you WILL have more to learn than students whose families have been to university. It WILL be harder for you.

Universities are trying to help First in Family students to settle in and focus on academic studies, but First in Family students find it difficult to know what to do or what to ask without feeling stupid.Sarah O'Shea

There is a First In Families  website based on research done by Sarah O’Shea. Her research findings have been turned into tips for success and ideas that you can follow up with lecturers, counsellors and student services… without feeling stupid.

Do This:

  • Go to the The First in Families site for some good tips.
  • Pick a university that focuses providing excellent support to students. In WA those are Notre Dame University and Edith Cowan.
  • When you get there contact lecturers and student services staff. It is their job to help you to succeed.
  • Find a mentor. It might be a second year student, or a family friend or a member of your uni’s alumni. They will help you to cope and succeed.

If you are the first in your family to go to uni you will find it academically challenging, a social minefield and expensive.

It can also be an awakening to new worlds of opportunity. Maybe it’s time to bite off more than you can chew.

There is more to discover than you can imagine.

 


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Getting into Medicine in WA

There are three universities that offer medicine in WA.

Curtin University

CurtinThis is a 5 year degree. It is the only medicine degree in Western Australia that takes student directly from school.

Students must be Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.

An ATAR minimum of 95 is required. Students must undertake the UMAT examination and an interview.

The course is for school leavers with special consideration being given to rural and remote students and to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

 

 

 

 Notre Dame University

logo-notre-dame

This is a 4 year degree.

Successful applicants will already have a degree with a minimum Grade Point Average of 5.

Applicants must undertake the Graduate Medical School Admission Test (GAMSAT). Applicants are also required to undertake an interview and Notre Dame also requires a Student of Medicine Application Folio which demonstrates more about the students personal attributes and suitability for acceptance.

International students are not currently eligible to apply.

UWA

 

UWA – This is a 4 year degree.

Only UWA provides dentistry in Western Australia.

Successful applicants for either course will already have a degree in another field and a minimum Grade Point Average of 5.5.

Applicants must undertake the GAMSAT. International applicants may undertake the Medical College Admissions Test. (MCAT)

Students must also undertake an interview.

ASSURED PATHWAY Outstanding WACE students with an ATAR of 99 can apply for an Assured Pathway. Applicants will have the confidence that they have a place within the medicine or dentistry program as long as they achieve a 5.5 Grade Point Average.

Applicants for an Assured Pathway must undertake the UMAT and international students can apply via the International Student Application Test.

Applicants for an Assured Pathway place must also undertake an interview.

Curtin University Undergraduate Degree 5 Years
Notre Dame Graduate Degree 4 Years
UWA Graduate Degree 4 Years

UMAT

Applicants for Curtin, for the UWA Assured Pathway offers or for places at undergraduate programs in other states will need to apply for the UMAT selection process.

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Registrations Close on 2 June and the test is conducted on 26 July.

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Register for UMAT online.

The test takes 3 hours.

It is possible to enrol in UMAT training programs. The Australian Council for Education Research (ACER) recommends that applicants to NOT bother to do these courses.

ACER provides sample tests, tutorials and extensive information to prepare applicants for the test.

 

 

 

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADMISSION TEST

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International students wishing to apply for the UWA Assured Pathway should undertake the ISAT test.

GRADUATE ENTRY

Applications for graduate entry are made in the final year of the first degree.

Domestic students should do the the GAMSAT Fullscreen capture 13032017 94709 AM.bmp

MCAT_official_logo

International students should a undertake the Medical College Admissions Test

 

 

 

 

GRADE POINT AVERAGE

The average grade result over three years is taken into account for graduate entry scores. Universities give these scores different weightings for different years.

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INTERVIEWS

All admission processes include interviews. These are structured as multiple mini interviews.

There are 7 x 6 minute interviews.

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WHERE YOU CAN STUDY MEDICINE IN AUSTRALIA

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WHIRLPOOL

Social media provides chat on different medical courses. You can join the chat at Whirlpool.

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In Focus Careers delivers Getting Into Medicine presentations at high schools in Western Australia.