Helping your child find the right degree | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Helping your child find the right degree

If your child is thinking about studying at university, they might be wondering where to start and how to find the right degree for their career goals.

Many teenagers have no idea about their career path or what they want to study, and that’s ok. As a parent, it’s important to be able to guide your teenager into a degree that they are likely to succeed in. Encourage them to go through this 5-step checklist to give them the best chance at success.

Step 1 – Find their why

Before they look at programs and courses, your child should decide on their Why.

Their Why may not be a particular job - although sometimes it is!

Their Why could be:

  • making a difference to their community (or the world!);
  • helping people;
  • advancing their existing career; or
  • finding a completely new direction.

When they’re choosing their program, make sure to ask them, will this help them get to their Why?

Step 2 – do career research

Now is the time for your child to think about where they want their studies to take them. There’s plenty of free online resources they can use to find information on industry and labour trends, the skills or qualifications needed for specific jobs, and current opportunities in their desired field. Here’s a few we recommend as a starting point:

Your child can use these resources to learn what programs or courses can help them reach their goals.

Step 3 – Identify study needs

Once your child has thought about why they’d like to study, it’s important to consider how they’d like to study. If they have family, work, or other commitments, they may consider studying part time or online. Many programs at USC are offered online. Programs that aren’t fully online are often delivered using a mix of online and face to face teaching, which may mean only a few hours of on-campus time a week (depending on how many courses they study).

When they’re choosing their program, remember that USC has a range of flexible study options to help them fit study into their existing commitments.

Step 4 – Start exploring programs

The USC website provides detailed information on the range of programs available to study. Here your child can learn about what they’ll study, and how. At USC, we call subjects ‘courses’ and the degree they will study is a ‘program’. Some key information for your child to consider is: 

Program structure
What courses will your child study? 

Each program is made up of a number of courses, and each course has a course outline. These outlines are full of useful information such as the number of hours they’ll spend in class per week, the topics they can expect to learn in the course, and the assessment pieces they’ll need to complete. Your child can have a look at the course outlines for the programs they’re considering and decide if the content is interesting and will help them meet their goals.

Entry requirements
What study or experience does your child need to get into this program? 

Each program will have specific requirements your child needs to meet before they are accepted. Check if they need to complete any other study or any mandatory requirements before they can get started in their program. Remember the Tertiary Preparation Program (TPP) is a great way to help them meet entry requirements and prepare them for university study.

Program duration and start
When can they start, and how long does it take?

Some programs only start in specific semesters, so it’s good to check when they're able to start. It’s also a good idea to know how long their program goes for (just remember, the duration listed on the website is the minimum time it will usually take to finish their degree). Your child should keep this in mind to help them plan how university will fit in with their other commitments.

If they’re not sure about committing to a full three- or four-year Bachelor degree, USC has a number of shorter programs such as Diplomas and Associate Degrees. These are good options to “test out” studying in a discipline and can often be used as credit toward larger programs (depending on what and where they choose to study).

Once your child has explored this information they should be down to one or two key programs they’d like to apply for.

Step 5 – Ask and apply

Now it’s time to Apply!

If your child is still a little uncertain about the right program for them, they can book a Future Student Career Appointment with the USC Careers Advisers, they can discuss your child’s career and study options to help them choose the best program to meet their goals.

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