So you know you want to study in Australia, but you’re not sure which course is right for you.
While many students have a rough idea of the field that they want to enter, it can be hard to choose the right course with so many choices on offer. Don’t worry — our tips will give you a few ideas about how to choose the right course if you’re finding it hard to make your choice.
Do your researchChoosing a course and a career is a process. The first step is to choose a broader field that you are interested in. From there, you can think about the different careers on offer in your field and the right course to get you there. For example, if you are interested in the hospitality industry, you might think about becoming a chef (which would require you to complete a VET qualification) or a hotel manager (which would require you to complete a higher education qualification). To begin the process, think about your strengths, interests and ambitions. Ask yourself: What activities am I good at? What activities do I enjoy? What are my hopes for the future? Career advisers, the Studies in Australia Course Search, and the websites and international student offices of Australian education institutions will be able to help.
Do a generalist degreeIf you have a rough idea of the field that you would like to study, a broad ‘generalist’ degree such as arts, science, health science or business will give you an opportunity to try subjects from a range of areas within the field. An arts degree, for instance, may allow you to combine subject areas such as history, psychology, languages and cinema studies. Once you have found an area that you like, you can usually choose to specialise or complete a major in that area.
Do a two-part degreeIf you’re considering entering a regulated profession such as medicine, law, teaching, architecture or dentistry, you will find that many Australian institutions offer a two-part course structure that allows you to complete a more general undergraduate degree in a related area and then progress to complete the professional qualification at postgraduate level. For example, you could complete an undergraduate degree in health science before progressing to a graduate entry medical degree. This option gives you more time to decide whether you are ready for the commitment of your chosen profession, but keep in mind that it will probably take you a lot longer to graduate.
If you’re not sure whether you want to commit to a longer course in a particular field, you could enrol in a lower-level qualification that has a shorter duration to see if you like it. For example, if you are considering a two-year advanced diploma in accounting but are not sure whether you will like it, you could enrol in a six-month certificate course at the same institution to trial the field. If you find that you enjoy the course, you can then transfer to the higher-level qualification through a pathway. You might even be eligible to receive credit for the subjects you have already completed.
Trial a field of study
Complete a foundation courseFoundation courses not only give you a chance to settle into the Australian lifestyle and higher education system before commencing your studies; they also give you a chance to explore what study in your field of interest would be like. Most foundation courses are available in different ‘streams’ that lead directly to courses in your area of interest (such as health science, arts or business). This gives you an opportunity to see what a particular field of study is like before you begin your course.