16 Apr 2018
As Term 2 gets underway, it’s time for senior high school students to start thinking about their future careers. If your child is in Year 10, they will start to develop a senior education and training (SET) plan. If you have a Year 11 or 12 student, they will likely be attending career expos or university open days. So how do you help your child make the most of these opportunities?
Whether it’s a SET planning meeting with your child’s school or a big event like the Tertiary Studies Expo (TSXPO), it pays to start with some homework. If you haven’t already, now is the time to talk to your child about the future. What subjects are they enjoying at school? What would they like to learn more about? Do they have any degrees or career options in mind?
Talking these questions through at home will help your child prepare for conversations with their guidance officer or university representatives.
Think about pathways
Work with your child to make a shortlist of possible jobs or careers. Then, use this list to guide discussions with school or tertiary education staff about what pathways or qualifications can lead to that career goal.
Remember, the days where one degree led to one job are mostly over – instead, your child is likely to uncover a range of study options that could get them there. Use this process to build a list of possible universities and degrees, which will help you decide which career events and open days to attend.
Some university programs require students to have studied certain subjects at school (called prerequisites). For example, to be eligible to get into a Bachelor of Primary Education at USC, students need to have passed English, Maths A, B or C, and an Authority Science subject. Get your child to check what subjects they need to have studied for any university courses they might be interested in.
Before the event, help your child compile a list of questions they want to ask. These might be about entry pathways, course content or career opportunities. If you’re attending a university event, don’t forget about things like scholarships, work-integrated learning and overseas study.
Don’t let your child rely on you to ask the questions for them. Universities and workplaces require independence, and these events can be a great place for your child to build confidence and networking skills. Encourage them to introduce themselves, take notes and seek out more information. You can help by comparing notes and following up with your child after the event, to see whether their career plans have strengthened (or changed).
When it comes to career planning, it’s natural for senior high school students to be unsure (or to change their mind a hundred times). While it’s easy to stress about your child’s future, it’s important to remain relaxed and let them find their own path. You can help by staying informed and encouraging your child to follow their interests – they are more likely to succeed if they study something they want to learn.
The same goes for SET planning and subject selection. Your child will perform better in subjects they are interested in, so they should select study for Years 11 and 12 based on this – not just on the entry requirements for a dream degree. Remember, it’s normal for students to change their minds. If this happens, there are programs like USC’s Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) that can assist students who may not have completed certain subjects at high school meet the prerequisites of their preferred degree.
Resources to help
USC has a range of resources to help students navigate the decision about what career is right for them:
- The careers and employment section of the USC website has lots of free, helpful items including career assessments to help match your child’s talents with possible careers.
- USC’s online career directory lists an extensive range of possible occupations and includes a list of degree options that will help students towards that profession.
- Similarly, USC’s undergraduate guide makes suggestions for career and degree options based on what subject a student may enjoy.