I was always the kid that would sit in silence during class; praying someone else would ask the teacher to explain the Maths equation just one more time or nudging my friend in the hopes that she would take one for the team and put his hand up to ask a question.
When I finally finished high school, nothing had changed- I was still too scared to ask questions that I thought were ‘dumb’ which meant that I had sat through countless Q&A sessions, info days and other uni explainers without actually getting any of the answers I really wanted.
Looking back now, if I’d just sucked it up and asked some of these questions it would have saved a lot of pain later down the track- I would have been less confused, less scared and realised that everyone actually wants to ask these things because no one really knows what to expect heading into uni. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, eh?
Here’s a few questions I wish I’d asked…
1. Do people actually like the course?
I wish I’d asked for genuine student opinions on the course. You’re kinda forced through high school, so it doesn’t particularly matter if you’re lovin’ it or not.
Uni is different though and knowing what actual people think of a particular degree is pretty important in making a decision.
2. What can I actually do with this degree?
Turns out, a communications degree doesn’t mean you have to become a journo, a business degree doesn’t mean becoming a business advisor and just because you study politics doesn’t mean you have to become a politician.
You probably know there’s plenty of paths to take with your degree, but do you know what those paths actually are? Yeah, me either. 🤷♂️
3. How hard are exams/assignments?
Asking this before you decide on a course is actually a pretty bloody good idea.
Some degrees will have a tonne of essays, others will be all exam-based so if you figure out what the course load is like before you start, you can play to your strengths and start figuring out whether you’re going to be able to cope with all the deadlines.
4. What’s the difference between a high school teacher and a uni tutor/lecturer?
It seemed like everyone around me already knew the answer to this, so I never asked. Turns out, no one knew what to expect from the people running their tutorials and lectures.
Here’s a little breakdown:
- Tutors: similar to your high school teachers. A tutorial is a classroom session but the key difference is that the tutor isn’t there to ‘teach’ you the content, instead you’ll be talking through the lecture and readings, and they’ll be able to help you with any specific questions about a topic or assessment you have.
- Lecturers: don’t confuse lecturers with teachers. They’re there to deliver the content to you and lectures are full of hundreds of students, with the person up the front presenting all the info you need.
5. What if I change my mind about my course?
Figuring out what your options are after you’ve started your course is always a good idea.
It might seem pessimistic to be thinking about what to do if you decide you don’t like a degree, or you’ve gone down the wrong path, but it actually takes a lot of pressure off your decision because you’ll realise there are plenty of options to defer, switch, or change study load.
While I missed my chance to ask these questions and was thrown into the deep end when I started uni, you don’t have to do the same. Our mates at UTS Insearch know that getting out there and asking ‘dumb’ questions can be tough which is why they have a tonne of super easy, no pressure events to get the answers you need.
They’ve got some Instagram Q&A sessions coming up for a heap of courses and you’ll be able to chat to course program managers (they have all the answers). The best bit is you don’t even need to leave home and can join the Q&A from the comfort of your very own bed.
If you’ve got some questions- literally anything like whether a course is right for you, if you’re going to be forced into doing group work, what to do if you’re sick and miss a class or what happens when you finish your course and head into the big, wide world of work- they’ll be able to help ya out.