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Don't fear the university preferences selection process

Logging into the website of your state’s tertiary admissions centre is peak of the uni preferences decision process. For some students it will be the culmination of years of hard work and careful subject selection at high school, others will be unsure right up until the moment they have the choices in front of them, while most will fall somewhere in between. Whatever your situation, selecting university preferences and potentially how you will spend the foreseeable future, is a chance to steer your life in any direction you choose. This is a big decision, but also an enjoyable one and something that shouldn’t be consumed by the pressure to get into a certain institution and the fear of missing out.

Below are some tactics to help you get the most from the selection process and dispel the myths surrounding choosing your university preferences.

The structure of a course may differ between universities

Your first preference may not be presented exactly the same way at every university around the country. For example, a Bachelor of Arts majoring in creative writing from The University of Melbourne might have a wider theoretical base than a similar degree from RMIT. The latter may focus on industry connections and real-world application, providing a different education experience. It is important to research the available courses at different universities to find a structure and angle that appeals to your learning style and ambitions.

A prestigious university isn’t necessarily the best choice

It is valuable to look beyond the big name, Group of Eight universities when deciding on the course that is best for you. For some employers, where your degree originated may be a huge concern, for the vast majority however, it won’t matter. It is far more important to choose a university that suits your values and what you hope to achieve. A big, old university might have a name that everyone will recognise, but being just one student out of 40,000 may not give you the student experience or teaching quality to help you succeed.

Missing out doesn’t mean your dream career is over

Not everyone can have their first preference and a lot won’t even get their second. This doesn’t mean that your ambition should die with the rejection. Instead, consider other pathways to get you to where you want to be. This makes it important to think carefully about your list and how you fill the spots after the first. Carefully consider how you could spend your first year studying something transferable, with a view to switch to your preferred course after a year. You may also find that a TAFE offers a pathway into the degree you want. Filling up your list with alternatives you don’t care about will increase your chances of giving up entirely and dropping out, or put you on a path you don’t want to be on.