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AN HONEST INSIGHT

INTO PICKING YOUR


UNIVERSITY DEGREE
PUBLISHED BY HERO EDUCATION

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contact@heroeducation.com.au
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Copyright

DIRECTORS ADDRESS

s most of you reading this are high school leavers, you


are probably about to finalise your university preferences.
And if you are like me when I was in year 12 and virtually
everyone else that I knew, you probably feel lost and
unprepared with this whole process. Firstly, its okay! Its
normal to not know what you want to do at university. Its all
part of growing up. So rather than feeling scared, feel excited
and empowered because life from here on out is all about
making your own decisions and having control over your own
life.
But no doubt, this is an important and difficult decision for
many and my advice in making your decisions is to speak with
current students studying in that degree or university. But I
know that that may not be realistic for most of you, especially
when you want to gain a broader insight into multiple
degrees and universities. So that is exactly why I created
this publication. I didnt want to create another UAC guide.
Rather, I wanted to create a guide that provided an honest
and deeper insight into the reality of as many degrees,
universities and years as possible.
Every student featured in this publication was a past Hero
Education student and I would like to thank every single one
of them for contributing. Volunteering your time out of your
busy lives to help others encapsulates the very essence of the
Hero community and I am very proud of you all.

CONTENTS

DEGREE
INSIGHTS
INTERVIEWS OF CURRENT UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
FROM THE HERO EDUCATION ALUMNI

UNIVERSITY
INSIGHTS

+ EVAN WONG

63

SEE WHAT DIFFERENTIATES UNIVERSITIES FROM A


STUDENTS PERSPECTIVE

Finally, I wish every Year 12 student all the best with your
degree selection. I hope this publication will provide you with
better guidance and maybe alleviate some of that fear and
uncertainty. I am so excited for you all to be nearing the next
chapter of your lives and I am sure you will all accomplish
amazing things after high school no matter where you end
up.
Good luck with your upcoming HSC exams!

GENERAL TIPS FOR


YEAR 12 LEAVERS

69

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM PEOPLE WHO HAVE


BEEN THERE BEFORE

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DEGREE
INSIGHTS
INTERVIEWS OF CURRENT
UNIVERSITY STUDENTS FROM
THE HERO EDUCATION
ALUMNI

STUDENTS SHARE
THEIR EXPERIENCES
ON WHAT UNIVERSITY
IS REALLY LIKE.

DEGREES COVERED IN ENTRIES

3
Mechanical Engineering
5 
Biomedical Engineering/Commerce (Finance)
7 
Mechatronics Engineering/Commerce
9 
Civil Engineering (Construction)
11 Software Engineering
13 
Information Technology/Commerce (BIT/Comm)
15 Advanced Science (Physics/Mathematics)
17 Medicinal Chemistry
19 Applied Science (Occupational Therapy)
21 Forensic Science in Applied Chemistry
23 Forensic Biology in Biomedical Science
25 Science (Vision)/Optometry
27 Diagnostic Radiography

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29 Exercise Physiology
31 Animal Veterinary Bioscience
33 Physiotherapy
35 Dentistry
37 Medicine
43 Science and Business (Psychology)
45 Commerce (Business Information Systems)
47 Economics
49 Actuarial Studies (Finance)
51 Commerce (Finance)/Law
57 Media arts (Honours)
59 
Design in Visual Communications/Arts in
International Studies

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ENGINEERING (HONOURS)


MECHANICAL ENGINEERING - UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


Initially, I actually intended to go for medicine. Id
always had an aptitude and interest towards it, and
didnt want a desk job either. But I didnt get the marks
I needed to get in. After that, I intended to go into
physiotherapy as my backup, but I realised I didnt
want to massage people for a living. I always leaned
towards engineering since the beginning, being a very
hands-on kind of person who loved to tinker, but father
advised against it due to negative life experiences. I
took his words under advisement, but I felt engineering
was a better fit for me than physiotherapy, and threw
caution to the winds.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
ALBERT CHAU
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2013
ATAR
97.95
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
2ND

I had a lot of difficulty with this one actually. I heard that


UNSW was the better university for engineering, but I
called this pretty much rumour and hearsay and didnt
pay it too much mind. I did, however, note during open
day that facilities seemed newer and better at UNSW
and the information presentations made by UNSW
engineering were more cohesive and convincing
and based my decision off that. I felt that it wasnt a
particularly well justified decision, but it was the best I
could do with the very limited information I had.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
In a nutshell, huge amounts of calculations and maths
applied in different ways, as well as a fairly large chunk
of report work, but my absolute favourite is design
work which happens every now and again. If you think
youre going to go into this degree designing an Iron
Man suit or a race car, it aint gonna happen. What
is going to happen is you work for 2 years designing
Iron Mans left pinkie joint, and it still doesnt work
sometimes when its really cold.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
I personally believe that what makes a good engineer
is the knack. The knack is the overwhelming curiosity
when one is presented with a potential for new ideas
to improve a particular problem. The knack manifests
itself as an urge to understand how something works,
or else to find some way to make it work, or make
it work better. The knack grants you initiative, to do
things without needing prompting, without needing
an instruction set. The knack tells you if you dont
know how to make something work, find out and make
it happen. Sure you can do well in this field without
the knack, but I honestly believe that the knack is
what makes somebody love their work in the land of
engineering.

about 10-20% of your existence, the rest is slogging


through calculations, slogging through reports. But
I must say, I stick with it not because I like it, but
because I understand its necessity. Things I dont
get the purpose of, I eventually realise the purpose
of down the line when I learn more about it. And I
further understand that working isnt like school. So I
stick with things because theyre rewarding, not now,
but one day.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


In this degree in particular, I feel theres something I like
to call makers pride. When youve sweated and toiled
over a particular project for a long long time, and at
long last it works, and it clicks and it runs as smooth as
silk, theres this undeniable level of pride that comes
with the knowledge that I did this, with my own two
hands and the knowledge in my head, I made this
work. Its a beautiful feeling, and not one that people
get very often in this day and age.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
The reality of it is that its nowhere near as glamorous
as most people imagine. The hours are ungodly; not
law, not medicine, not business, nobody has as many
hours as engineering students, without a doubt. The
workload is crushing.
Whats more, there is an incredible amount of
mathematics. That beautiful makers pride is maybe

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ENGINEERING (BIOMEDICAL)


BACHELOR OF COMMERCE (FINANCE) - USYD

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


By discovering myself. Corny as it sounds, neglect
everything everyone has ever told you to try and
influence your decision, but think about yourself ONLY.
Its your future here. Do something you will enjoy
at university it will not force you down a path, but
merely guide you in a direction that you can always
change later. I realised my aspiration break natural
boundaries whilst also trying to stay realistic about
the contemporary business landscape. Hence, that
explains my weird duo-bachelor degree.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
BOB JIN
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2013
ATAR
99.65
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
2ND

I chose my university by understanding what I wanted


to do I wanted to expand my networks and meet
newer, interesting people from a variety of different
backgrounds. Having gone to SBHS, where 95% of the
school goes to UNSW, I decided to attend the more
prestigious (humble brag) University of Sydney instead.
Additionally, they also were the only ones in Sydney to
offer an undergrad Biomedical Engineering degree.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
In engineering, 10U Math, real-life chemistry and
physics, how electrons go from A to B and some coding.
All this involves critical thinking and complex problem
solving it is very theoretically based and mathematical.
You essentially start from the theoretical roots up in first
year, with the end goal of designing a workable product
by your final year.
In commerce, 2U math, economics, accounting, business
studies (ew), and the importance of communication.
Commerce itself is a very dull degree and wont get
you very far itself. It is the peripheral components of my
commerce degree, such as joining societies, networking,
and work experience, that gives you the competitive
edge against other candidates in future job applications.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
You will need a passion to never give up, the ability to
learn fast, be a socialite, have great time management,
and confidence. With these, you will inherently be a
great team player which may or may not transfer to
being a great leader depending on your personality.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
For me, one of the best things is when you learn a
completely foreign concept, have absolutely no idea
what is happening, and then by soldiering on and
drawing from first principles, you have the Eureka!
moment you suddenly understand the meaning of life.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

Secondly, you are able to study something interesting


and exciting with people that have similar passions and
aspirations. This transfers to the societies I have joined
which have core values that really resonate within myself.
Thirdly, it is essentially the ONLY engineering degree
where there is an even ratio of males to females.
Maybe even more females than males.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
I would not want to do my degree because it is very
technical and hard. It is not for those that easily give
up. Nothing comes easy, and progress is made with
pain. I have seen times where people have given up
and dropped out to arts, and times when people just
do not care about university any further and neglect
an assessment (later to fail).
If you are looking for a stable job and career, with an
alright amount of money go study medicine.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ENGINEERING (MECHATRONIC)


BACHELOR OF COMMERCE - UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I chose my Engineering/Commerce degree because of
two reasons. The first was because throughout school,
I found Math, Science and Business related subjects to
be interesting. Even though what I had learnt in high
school most likely would not be applied in university,
chances are I would enjoy whatever content I was
taught. Secondly, it was because Engineering felt like it
would provide me the best opportunity to understand
and develop technology while Commerce would
supplement this by recognising what is feasible.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
JASON ZHANG
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
99.15
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

My choice on the university was influenced by the


experiences shared by others about what their
university can offer. What made UNSW appeal to me
more than USYD is because UNSW seems like it has a
more active student life.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
On the engineering side, you are taught applied
mathematics and skills which are utilised later on to
develop projects throughout all 5 years. For commerce,
you will learn skills applied in business and understand
the concepts behind them.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
In my opinion, the quality that anyone looking to
do engineering needs is to be stubborn. From my
experience so far, all the problems presented to you
in engineering are made so they can be solved with
brute force. Additionally it is necessary to constantly
look back on your work so you can establish a method
of providing a solution as elegantly as possible. On the
commerce side, it is necessary to be dedicated in order
to understand the concepts taught and specific details
that can be missed easily.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
The one thing I like the most about my degree is the
introductory Engineering Design subject where you
had to choose a project to do. It was assumed that
most people in the subject had no prior knowledge on
how to create to project so it was necessary to work
with the other members in your group to research,
prototype and create your design all within a timeframe
of 12 weeks. One project was to make a prosthetic
arm which actually worked. It was an enlightening
experience as we were able to make a functional arm
with only $120 whilst industrially produced prosthetics
costed much more. This opened up my mind to
other projects, whilst sophisticated, are actually much
cheaper to make.

as other degrees. The amount of time required can


also restrict the time available for extra-curricular
activities such as volunteering or society participation,
a part-time job or for studying. Also the degree itself
is very long (5.5 years), so the opportunity to get
two degrees is overshadowed by the opportunity to
complete a single degree and get a job much earlier.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
A major reason that I would not want to do
Engineering is because the total contact hours
(around 24 hours) is required per week for
Engineering. This is much longer than other degrees
such as Commerce or Law. Therefore it is difficult to fit
all the classes into 4 days or less. The times scheduled
for classes in some subjects are also not as flexible

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF CIVIL ENGINEERING


CONSTRUCTION - UTS

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


Being of brown decent, my parents played a pretty
big role in choosing my degree, but I was okay with
that because I was really open to a lot of things, civil
engineering being one of them.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
I picked my university based off recommendations from
a particular person who has given lectures in USYD and
is a civil engineer in the Campbelltown council. The
reasoning he gave for choosing UTS was that it was
more practical and thats what employers really look for.
Although the other universities are more academic,
UTS is the better university for engineering. It was
basically a no brainer for me after that.
NAME
SAIF KIBRIA
SCHOOL
MALEK FAHD HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
96.75

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
Basically, theres a lot of mechanics involved. It is a
course that builds on from the HSC 4U mathematics
mechanics topic and engineering studies of moments
and torque etc. Thats for the 1 and half years I have
been studying. As for the rest I guess Ill have to ride it
out to find out.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Being good at physics mainly and having a sound
background in maths will really let you breeze through
the subject.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


What I really like about UTS is that the exams are much
easier than other universities because UTS understands
that its not necessary to make hard questions which
will have no use in the work place (Thats what I believe
is the reasoning for the easier exams anyways).
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
The theory behind Civil engineering is quite boring.
The only thing getting me through the degree so far is
that I know the workplace will be much more different.

UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
2ND

10

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF SOFTWARE ENGINEERING


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


Ive always been a more practical learner as opposed
to rote learning and software engineering is one of the
more conceptual degrees out there with a high chance
at securing a job straight after graduating.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
UNSW is the best university for engineering in Australia
and one of the best in the world. It was an easy choice.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
I learn how to write code and write clever programs
which make peoples lives easier.
NAME
USMAN HAIDAR
SCHOOL
HURLSTONE AGRICULTURAL HIGH SCHOOL

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
A person who loves to learn practical things as
opposed to memorising huge chunks of information
is perfect for this degree. Good mathematical abilities
and patience will also go a long way in this degree.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


Being able to work from anywhere. Just having a
laptop at hand means I can finish my assignments
anytime anywhere, amazing job prospects after
university and understanding what a computer is doing
is just amazing as well.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Like every other engineering degree it is very time
consuming and has a heavy workload.

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR


2014
ATAR
94.3
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

11

12

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY


BACHELOR OF COMMERCE (BUSINESS INFO SYS) - USYD

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I was originally doing a Bachelor of International and
Global Studies. Not knowing what I really wanted to
do, I chose Chinese, socio-legal studies and (after
watching a video of Kevin Durant plugging software
engineering) programming as subjects. I ended up
loving programming so much that I transferred the next
semester into IT!

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
You have to be ready to learn and be on your feet. Im
sure thats with any degree, but because commerce
and computer science are quite different, you have to
be prepared to think in two different ways!

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
Initially, I chose USYD because I wanted to consider
doing law as a combined degree later on. When I
decided to transfer to BITComm, internal transfer
seemed most convenient; same campus, same people,
same distance from home!
NAME
MINWOO YIM
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
My business information systems (BIS) major for
Commerce teaches me to see businesses as a bunch of
processes that work together to make a business work.
Information technology teaches me how to create
software.

It helps me understand why certain business decisions


are made from a business perspective, and also from
an IT perspective. The goals of either perspective in
achieving goals are very different, so it broadens the
way you think about how businesses operate.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Its 5 years and the combination isnt for everyone. Its
also difficult to see how they complement each other
at times.

ATAR
96.45
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
3RD

13

14

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ADVANCED SCIENCE (PHYSICS/MATHEMATICS)


USYD

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?

NAME
LILY LI
SCHOOL
FORT STREET HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
97.45
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

15

Admittedly, I did not struggle anywhere near as hard


as my fellow schoolmates with choosing my degree. I
had my eyes set on the Advanced Bachelor of Science
degree at USyd as soon as I came out of my aspiringprofessional-ballerina-phase in year 9. I applied for the
E12 early entry scheme and was granted conditional
entry before the HSC exams even started. However,
my faith was not unshaken during the month leading
up to, and shortly following the ATAR release. I
questioned myself whether my true talents lied in
areas other than science, whether I would be smart
enough for science, and whether the degree would
grant me enough career opportunities. I started
looking into combined Science double degrees. I
considered options such as Music, and arts with a
major in Government and International relations. In the
end, I stuck to my original decision not only because
transferring the E12 scholarship would be a big ball
of bureaucratic mess, but because I know I wouldnt
regret it, and that in 3 years time, I will have so many
new opportunities opened to me.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
With fair warnings from family and friends, I tried my best
to be unbiased when I was picking between USyd and
UNSW (which I think are agreeably the most reputable
institutions for a Science degree in Sydney, and I wasnt
planning to go interstate). I already knew USyd and its
Science departments fairly well through various extracurricular engagements such as the International Science
School. I managed to score a guided tour of the physics
school at UNSW with a professor there. When I asked him
about picking between USyd and UNSW, he answered
that there really isnt much of a difference between the
two for undergraduates since courses will cover the same
level of knowledge. Eventually I chose USyd despite
being offered a higher value scholarship by UNSW. USyd
was a lot closer for me to travel to, and I think what really
won me over were the vibrant atmosphere and the selfaware pretentious hipster culture.

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
In a nutshell, what I have learnt in my degree over the
past semester and half is how to think critically, and not
crumble over seemingly impossible challenges. Since
Science degrees are so general, what each person
learns can be totally different depending on subject
choices. The freedom with subject selection means
everyone gets to learn what they are interested in and
passionate about. The only exception (for some others)
is that Maths is mandatory for the first year at USyd. It
gives you a solid, comprehensive skill set for any area
that requires any sort of mathematical analysis.
Also, the Advanced Bachelor of Science degree is
99.9% identical to Bachelor of Science. If you start
without the Advanced, choose regular stream
subjects in first year, get distinction in those, and enrol
in advanced stream subjects the next year, you still get
to graduate with Advanced attached to the end of
your degree.
WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU
BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
In my opinion, time management and self-control are
two really important qualities for anyone studying
a Science degree. For almost all of my subjects,
especially those in the Advanced stream, there is very
minimal progress monitoring until the final exam. This
means that many people breeze through the semester
with minimum effort, e.g. cram for a quiz the night
before, and are suddenly hit by the mountainous
load of content that needs to be learnt for the final
exam. I think that with good time management,
and enough self-control to occasionally say no to
reddit and consecutive night-outs, all of despair and
disappointment can be avoided. Additionally, it is really
important to have a mindset that values effort over
innate abilities. It is easy to get lost thinking, Maybe
Im just not the insert subject name kind, or everyone

in my class is smarter than me. Those thoughts will


drag down anyones confidence and productivity, and it
will just be a downward spiral from there.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
I love the fact that my degree has challenged my
limits intellectually and physically (sometimes with 6
assessments in one week). As a high school student,
I would have contemptuously dismissed this, but I do
feel like I am becoming a stronger and more capable
person over the past few months. My degree had
also given me the opportunity to try out my options.
When semester 1 started, I really wasnt sure whether
I wanted to major in physics or molecular biology
completely different fields! By the end of semester
1, I was 100% certain that biology wasnt for me.
Having had that experience makes me feel a lot more
confident with where I heading towards in life.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Bachelor of Science demands a lot of commitment. I
have seen friends prioritise their part time jobs over
their uni work, and suffer the consequences. I do feel
a bit sour whenever I remember that I have the same
number of hours of lab classes alone (only a portion
of my classes) as the entire contact hours of friends in
other degrees. I sometimes also feel deprived of any
creative outlet doing a science degree (which is one
of the million reasons why extra-curricular activities
are very important).

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

16

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I was interested in a degree that was related to
science and was not entirely sure what I wanted
to do specifically. I was tossing up between this,
Medical Science or Advance Science but I chose
Medicinal Chemistry instead as I found it to be a more
direct degree which involved chemistry and making
medicine. I have found myself to be interested in
how pharmaceuticals work in the body and how to
chemically create them thus my decision to choose
Medicinal Chemistry.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
BRANDON LAU
SCHOOL
SEFTON HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?

ATAR
97.00

You learn about chemical reactions and everything to


do with identifying molecules and understanding how
to develop compounds. More so about understanding
the drug development process and how to use
machines to identify compounds.

UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
4TH

17

Through research I have found that the best universities


for studying science when staying in NSW would be either
USYD or UNSW. However, UNSW was the only university
offering my degree but it was down to the general feeling
of the university. After further research on the degrees
and attending the open days, I found the atmosphere at
UNSW to be much more vibrant and welcoming.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
You would need to be able to constantly focus on tasks
at hand due to the large amount of assignments given
with different courses. Thus you would also need to be
able to multitask very well. Exams for this course are
impossible to cram for and need to be revised weekly
at the least. Someone who is generally hardworking will
also help with this degree. It would also helpful to be
approachable and easy to talk to. This would ensure
you get along with the small cohort and with that, you
would be able to help each other pass exams. Talking
to lecturers and tutors will also help with understanding
other aspects of the degree and possibly some hands
on experience.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


It is quite a steep learning curve but if you are into
chemical compounds and understanding how chemical
reactions occur, this degree will be one you would find
really interesting.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
It is actually a lot of work and it is very hard to do well
in. Your social life would not be in the best shape if
you were to do this degree and expect high marks.
You would expect to be at university 5 days a week
due to the large amount of lectures and labs. The labs
take a lot of time (~4 hours) every week and the fail
rate for a lot of the courses are also very high but if
you put enough time and effort into it, it will be fine.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF APPLIED SCIENCE (OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY)


USYD

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I really had no clue as to what I wanted to do
specifically but I was really interested in doing a degree
that was in the medical/health/health science field.
I met someone who was completing a Masters in
Occupational Therapy at UWS and asked about what
the course was like. As incorrect as it may be, at the
end of the night I thought to my self that OT was like
physio but you get to paint with your patients/clients
and it was more creative, which I felt aligned with my
own interests as well. Without doing a lot of research
on it (which I probably should have), I took the risk and
put that as my second preference. After the ATAR and
offers came out, I didnt get into physiotherapy (ATAR
98) but I was offered OT (ATAR 92). I decided to take
the chance and accepted the offer but if didnt work
out, I had already thought of a plan B.
NAME
ANNIE XIE
SCHOOL
TRINITY CATHOLIC COLLEGE
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
95.35

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?


Honestly I think I always wanted to go to USYD and
at that time I only knew of USYD and UWS who were
offering the course. To me UNSW was too far and I
felt that it didnt offer a variety of courses in health/
health science. It is also important to be aware that
for the entire degree OT is held in the Cumberland
campus (Lidcombe) and not in the main campus.

UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?

DEGREE YEAR
3RD

Ultimately OT is about finding ways to allow someone,


to be able to do what they need/want to do and
encouraging people to be as independent as they can.
Some of the things you will learn:
Manual handling e.g. using a hoist and
wheelchairs, assisting in transfers.
How to make hand splints.
Home modifications.

19

The different types of equipment you can


prescribe.
Workplace/occupational rehabilitation.
OT specific assessments and interventions.
How to work with people with mental illnesses,
children with learning difficulties/developmental
delay/autism, older adults with dementia or have
undergone surgerythe list goes on.
Anatomy and Neuroscience.
There is clinical placement every year and this provides
an opportunity for students to understand and
experience what working as an OT is really like and
how theory applies in practice.
WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU
BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Being open minded
Non-judgemental and respectful
Creative and able to problem solve
Good communication skills and a good listener!
Some one that enjoys working with people with
disabilities.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
OT focuses on a holistic view and is very broad, which
provides you with a lot of options as to which area you
might want to work in. The skills obtained can also be
transferrable (e.g. communication skills, working in a
team and problem solving) and useful on a daily basis.
Also, the idea that at the end of the day, you are
working towards returning meaning, purpose and
independence to a persons life, is very rewarding.
Most importantly, you do not have a lot of hours per
week and most of the time you get 1-2 days off. So
that gives you some time for a part time job, to work
on your assignments and time to relax if your good at
organising yourself.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
OT is not known to a lot of people and it is still a
growing profession in Australia so not knowing if
there will be a lot of positions out in the field when
you graduate can be a bit scary sometimes.
There are a lot of assignments and not many
exams (depending on what electives you choose)
Since the degree is held in the Cumberland
campus, it is not very close to anything, you dont
get that city life exposure and there arent a lot of
social clubs on campus.
The content can be very dry sometimes.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF FORENSIC SCIENCE IN APPLIED CHEMISTRY


UTS

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


This may sound clich, but I loved the crime shows and
I wanted an insight into how it is actually solved. I also
liked puzzles and the feeling of solving it is satisfying.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
I believe being optimistic, interested in forensics
and open to new knowledge would definitely help.
Enjoying team work is a plus as many practical classes
involve lab work.

Only UTS offered this course.


WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
I learn about chemistry especially in the analytical field
and about forensics which involves analysing paint
fragments, fingerprints, fibres, footprints, fires and
explosions just to name a few.
NAME
FELICIA GONG
SCHOOL
BURWOOD GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
83.00

In my degree, we are focused on analysing a lot of


data and are given insight into how the forensic team
in the real world works. The excursions we go on are
interesting because they allow us to see the facilities
that forensics work with and the different types of cases
that they get and how it is analysed.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
It is a disappointment that unfortunately we do not
have internships which may provide us with first-hand
experience working with information from cases.
However, this is reasonable given that evidence may
be accidently destroyed by our inexperience and may
ultimately result in a possible suspect not being arrested.

UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
3RD

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF FORENSIC BIOLOGY IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCE


UTS

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I have always been interested in forensics, and biology
was one of my favourite subjects in high school so
when I found out UTS had a course that combined the
both I definitely had to choose it!
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
UTS is much closer to the station/city than UNSW
or USYD and I would probably never make it to a
9am class on time at UNSW. In hindsight, location
is probably not a good enough reason to base my
decision to choose UTS just because it is convenient.
Having said that, UTS is the only uni that offers a
forensic biology course.

NAME
KATHLEEN DU
SCHOOL
TRINITY CATHOLIC COLLEGE
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
88.75
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
3RD

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
In this degree you can learn how crimes are solved
using forensic evidence such as human tissue,
weapons, fingerprints, body fluids, DNA, how to handle
and collect evidence, how to search and protect crime
scenes and the legal issues involved in crimes.
Besides lectures, there are also practical classes, which
are usually interesting and enjoyable as different parts
of the body (usually animal parts) are brought in for
us to dissect and see how they function. I believe the
practical classes are useful as they reiterate information
provided in the lectures and also provide the
opportunity to conduct experiments and tests that are
required for the jobs in this field.
However, first year subjects are pretty dry as they are
all core subjects including physics, chemistry, statistical
analysis and human pathology. But it does get more
interesting starting from second year!

23

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
I think if you are doing chemistry and biology for the
HSC it will help you with the basics in this course.
Otherwise first year first semester subjects basically
start with prelim and HSC level biology, chemistry,
physics and statistical analysis. However it is definitely
not easy if you didnt do these subjects in high school.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
I find all the forensic components in my degree such
as learning about crime scenes, how to locate and
store evidence and how to analyse the evidence to
help solve crimes very interesting. This is alongside the
multiple anatomy-based subjects which show how the
human body works and all the processes that happen
inside the body which is really intriguing and amazing.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
There are so many contact hours. All my semesters have
been at least 25 hours which includes both lectures and
practical classes; sometimes seminars and tutorials are
also required. Class times are also very limited so there
may be large gaps between your classes and unless
you get really lucky, attending uni 5 days a week for the
whole course is almost certain. Therefore, if you also
work while attending uni, it does not leave much time
for extra-curricular activities or even studying and doing
assignments. There are also many in-class quizzes, tests
and mini assignments that are time intensive but do not
weigh much. E.g. 30 page submission for only 5% of the
final grade.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (VISION)


BACHELOR OF OPTOMETRY - UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I was one of the many determined to pursue the career
of a doctor. However, given that medicine is a highly
competitive degree, I admit that that is how I landed
in a dual degree of Science/Optometry it was simply
a back-up. So dont underestimate the weight of your
back-up preferences!

NAME
JUDY NAM
SCHOOL
CARINGBAH HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
97.25
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

When talking to my colleagues in the same degree


this one time, I realised that most of us were in the
same boat; Optometry was a stepping stone that will
hopefully eventually lead into Medicine. However, over
time some of us learnt to love Optometry for its own
perks whilst others still couldnt let go of their dream
career. Truthfully I have yet to decide for myself if it
is the career path that I wish to follow. Nevertheless
with a love for the sciences I appreciate the essence of
knowledge and I can say without a doubt it is a degree
that has a lot to offer.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
For me, what I wanted to study was more significant
than which University I attended. Ideally, I wanted to go
to either USYD or UNSW because it was the easiest to
commute to and was a popular choice amongst friends.
But my preference was based on which university
offered the health related course I was interested
in. Being the only university in the state that offered
Optometry, I picked UNSW.

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
For the science part of the degree, I was trained
to think like a scientist in order to have a better
understanding of the fundamental concepts of biology,
chemistry and physics. This set the foundation for my
vision major, through which I learnt about the eyes in
more detail. Broadly speaking, there are two aspects to
vision science:

25

1. Optics: involves solving problems that heavily rely


on mathematical calculations and derivations to
apply in dioptric measurements.
2. Perspectives: involves critical thinking on how the
eyes work and how other factors can influence
what we see.
For the optometry side, I learnt to apply the theory
of vision science in clinical scenarios. That is, you
learn the practice of optometrists by role-playing,
using ophthalmic equipment and observing different
conditions of the eye.
WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU
BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
As an optometrist you have to be comfortable
interacting with other people, so have good
interpersonal communication skills. Being able to solve
problems will be helpful as there are numerous group
tasks that require you to actively participate and speak
openly about your ideas. The cohort is relatively small
so we have a sharing is caring mentality where we
all work together as a team. Also having previous
knowledge of science and being comfortable with
basic arithmetic will assist you greatly in the theory side
of studying.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Optometry has high contact-hours! You have to be
prepared to spend a lot of time at university and have
an inflexible timetable most of the courses are fixed
at a certain time. The materials covered in lectures are
content heavy and requires you to dedicate your time
to fully comprehend the concepts and theories.
There are lots of assessments (multiple weekly online
quizzes) so you have to make sure youre organised
and stay on top of your work.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


Firstly, Optometry is allocated to only a small number
of students when compared to other degrees so by
the end youll know everyone. This is a perk because it
allows you to make colleagues that you share the same
lectures all the time and the support network you create
within your cohort is incredible. Secondly, Optometry
allows you to attain a wide range of skills that flows on
into other aspects of life; it widens your perspective and
helps you think outside the box as you learn that there
is a lot more to everything than meets the eye. Last but
not least, Optometry offers a rewarding career!

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF APPLIED SCIENCE (DIAGNOSTIC RADIOGRAPHY)


USYD

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


In high school, I knew I wanted a career that would
keep me on my toes and one that I could work in a
team with everyday. Working in the health sector was
what I wanted to do after watching a few seasons of
Greys Anatomy and I have no regrets. In saying that, I
really DID enjoy learning anatomy and about different
pathologies within the body.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
Radiography was offered at USYD Cumberland campus
(as well as Newcastle University and Charles Sturt
University) but since it was close to where I live, it was
very appealing to me. Also, being next to a cemetery
was a giant plus (just kidding).
NAME
KIMBERLEY BUI
SCHOOL
SEFTON HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
90.50
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
3RD

27

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
You learn about the physics behind each imaging
modality ie. X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound and how you
acquire diagnostic information from these. You learn
how to also read pathologies and critique the images
youve obtained. At the start of first year, there are units
on about human anatomy, biology and physics. If you
find that its too science-heavy, you also have units on
ethics and sociology throughout the course.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Since youll be interacting with patients in your career,
being empathetic and patient are good virtues to have.
You have to be a team-worker or youll find your clinical
placements to be rather awkward. Being good at
problem-solving especially when dealing with difficult
patients who cant get into desired positions for an
x-ray and also being physically fit as you will be on your
feet all day. Good communication skills are needed for
this degree, whether you are socialising with patients or
even colleagues.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
I really like the clinical placement blocks. These are
month-long periods of time throughout your degree
where you go to a designated hospital or a private
imaging clinic and you work full-time. It is only during
then when you can confirm that you are content with
this degree as you will be doing everything a qualified
radiographer does in an 8 hour shift, 5 days a week. This
is when the real learning starts.
I also like the small class sizes since its a smaller cohort
as compared to commerce, so you definitely get that
personal interaction with the lecturer/tutor.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
When youre a student, the images that you obtain or
the way that youve obtained them will most definitely
be criticised by qualified radiographers and even
radiologists (doctors). If you cant handle criticism,
whether it be constructive or not, then this isnt the
degree for you. Dont do this degree if you dont enjoy
science, especially physics. Physical and verbal patient
interaction is a must in this career so if that makes you
uncomfortable, then do not do this degree.
Choosing electives isnt possible in this course so you
cant learn a new language or do cross-faculty units.
There are core units that everyone in your cohort must
complete. The only flexibility that you have with your
timetable is choosing when you can have your tutorials,
which is usually a choice between 2 times.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGY


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


In making my decision, I was mainly considered what
I was interested in and what I could make a career out
of. By looking through all the offerings from the main
universities, I landed in exercise physiology.

ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR


STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?

SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

Saw heaps of cute girls at open day! And because it


had my course there.

Its a really well designed degree. All the subjects are


actually really enjoyable and interesting and the lecturers
and tutors are heaps good. Also, its under the faculty of
medicine so they have the resources and focus in doing
a really good job at developing the degree.

WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES


YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?

A lot of health science, a lot of anatomy/histology etc,


and some psychology (which is really interesting).

SCHOOL
FORT STREET HIGH SCHOOL

If you enjoy sports, the science behind it, and helping


people achieve their goals, this is a pretty good degree!

OTHER QUESTIONS

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?

NAME
JASON LIU

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?

SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Job opportunities are limited and you will need to
go postgrad to make the most out of it. But honestly,
if you dont do postgrad there are still a lot of
opportunities straight out of your undergrad.

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR


2014
ATAR
91.25
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ANIMAL AND VETERINARY BIOSCIENCE


USYD

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I really like anatomy and physiology but humans are
scary and having to do dissections on people would be
too close to home. So I chose doggies instead.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
University of Sydney is the only university that has
Vet school within the major universities, and is also
renowned for teaching it.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?

NAME
CARMEN CHAN
SCHOOL
BURWOOD GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2013

First year is a bit weird and feels irrelevant because


there are some really general units (one that is shared
with agriculture students and we basically go pull
grass out of the ground and measure it? What.), and
your standard chemistry and biology. However second
year you get to do more vet related stuff, like proper
dissections and its exactly what you would expect,
hands on, cut open animals and get awkwardly hungry
during dissection practicals

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Being not scared of getting your hands dirty, outgoing,
down for an adventure, consistency, and you have
to be down to go to uni five days a week because
contact hours are crazy! You definitely need good time
management but thats with any course.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
Everyone is really nice. You dont really meet a stuck up
person doing vet and everyone has the same goals and
ambitions and help each other out whereas personally,
I feel like some other faculties require you to compete
with one anotherI dont knowmaybe Ive just been
lucky with friends. But everyone is really nice and we
swarm to pet dogs together
. Theres also a lot of
bonding time because of practicals and in first year we
go to the farm every Friday in Camden (two hour road
trips for one) and then youre kind of forced to do group
stuff like learning to push a sheep over and sticking your
hand in a cows mouth with all your trust on the other
person to restrain it to not lose your arm.

ATAR
85.00

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?

UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

With my course, theres a need to complete work


placement, 60 days (not hours), mostly 3-4 hours away
from Sydney, and its pretty tough. However Im striving
to get into Doctor of Veterinary Medicine* which
means I wont need those hours anymore. But yeah,
placement is a pain in the buttbutt because you have
to do it in your own time pretty much your holidays
because we have five days of uni a week. Also, some
compulsory subjects are a bit irrelevant and youre
always feeling like WHY AM I DOING THIS?!

DEGREE YEAR
2ND

the vet so like husbandry, research etc. My course and


the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine are the same for the
first two years, and then some people will transfer into
their third of a six year degree in Doctor of Veterinary
Medicine, and some may decide to transfer over to
my one (Animal and Veterinary Bioscience) and just
complete third and fourth year. Its a bit hard to explain,
but if youre interested in animals, both these courses
are great and you can look into it in more detail on the
USYD site.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

* Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is to become a vet.


The course Im doing is to become everything else but

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF PHYSIOTHERAPY
ACU

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I originally wanted to do medicine but I did not attain a
high enough UMAT to be eligible for medicine. Thus I
decided to do physiotherapy as the content in the course
is the most similar in my opinion to the medical course,
after medical science. However unlike medical science,
graduating as a physiotherapist will provide me with a
profession straight out of university so that just in case I
didnt make it into medicine, I would still have a peace of
mind that I would still have a good profession. Besides
that though, I have always been interested in doing
sports and being a physiotherapist is very interesting as
it is enjoyable to learn as well as being closely related in
content to my dream course of medicine.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
NAME
SIMON WU
SCHOOL
NORTH SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
97.60
UNIVERSITY
AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

33

Australian Catholic University was the next best


university in Sydney for physiotherapy after the
University of Sydney however I did not have a high
enough ATAR to attend the university of Sydney.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
A lot of biology and anatomy. Hence why it is similar
in content to medicine in my opinion. However you
also have physiotherapy specific units which are more
for learning about patient interaction, ethics and
professional behaviour.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
To do physio, the most important quality I believe
that you should have is being able to comfortably talk
to new people and be very open as the profession
requires constant communication between patient
and clinician to accurately provide treatment and
intervention. You should be happy to talk to people
and I would not recommend doing this course if you
are very shy and do not like talking to people.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


Biology and Anatomy are very content heavy subjects.
However they are very enjoyable for me to learn
as I can apply this knowledge to how I live such as
dietary requirements, the use of medications etc.
I also particular like this personally because these
subjects are closely related to medicine so it is a good
foundation for anyone who is looking to eventually do
a medical course but like me, was not able to get it on
the first try.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
The worst thing about my degree would be the lack of
the degree at large universities. ACU is a very small uni
and thus the social life at the university is not as good
as the other unis such as UNSW and USYD. Although
USYD has a physiotherapy course, it is situated at the
Cumberland, non-main campus, which is quite far for
me to travel to.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ORAL HEALTH IN DENTAL SCIENCE


GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I wasnt quite sure what I wanted when it came to putting
in our university choices. All I knew was that I wanted
to be somewhere in health sciences where I would be
able to interact with other people on a daily basis, but
I felt medicine would be too overwhelming for myself
to undertake. It was a choice between dentistry and
physiotherapy and ultimately I took into consideration
what my parents thought was best. Looking back, Im
pretty grateful for their advice as I am really happy with
where I am.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
RAYMOND HUA
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
99.25

35

Ideally I wouldve wanted to study in Sydney as it is


a place that Im most familiar with and where I had
all my mates - it would be the comfortable choice.
Unfortunately there were no undergraduate dentistry
courses in Sydney, only postgraduate. So what it came
down to was doing your research finding out via
internet/public forums which interstate university was
best at teaching dentistry for undergraduates. If you
knew people who knew anyone doing the course,
then you had to pull in favours to ask. Thankfully my
school provided me with a list of graduated people
who went into dentistry so it all came down to just
giving them a ring.

UNIVERSITY
GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?

DEGREE YEAR
3RD

In dentistry, you will learn how to identify diseases and


problems within the oral cavity and how to fix them
or, if its not within your capabilities, you will learn who
to refer your patient to. The broad topics taught in
dentistry include operative + prosthodontics (fillings
+ aesthetic dentistry including crowns and dentures),
endodontics (working in the roots of a tooth), oral
pathology (diseases), paediatrics (working on children),
periodontology (gingivitis and other gum related issues),
orthodontics (braces) and many other topics. In first and
second year youre basically learning the basics from

human anatomy but it builds up to the more interesting


topics as those listed above. In the final year they will
also teach you how to run your own business.
WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU
BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Theres 2 major features every dentist should possess:
Good hand motor skills many 1st years come in with
the worry that they dont possess adequate hand motor
skills (myself included) but you will learn to develop
them over the 5 years. Believe me, at the start, I didnt
think that Id be capable of controlling a drill to remove
exactly a millimetre (no more no less).
Good social capabilities for patient interaction this
one is a bit harder to teach and more of a lifelong
development aspect there is always someway
better to approach your patient and if you want to
be successful in dentistry, youve got to know how
to talk and manage each and every patient because
establishing trust between your patient and yourself
is what keeps your patient coming back to you. Good
patient communication is also what prevents lawsuits
against you.
There are obviously some basic qualities such as an
ability to act professional, a thirst for knowledge and
others but the above two is pretty much the most
important.

This one may not be related to this degree, but I loved


living away from my family. Dont get me wrong, I love
my family and all but theres just something about living
on your own that feels rewarding and like a milestone
able to sustain your own living without relying on
others.
Currently, Im really enjoying seeing patients in clinic.
Everything from listening to the patients story, to
completing a treatment for them to see them smiling
again feels really rewarding.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
The amount of hours we spend at uni is ridiculous
compared to other courses. Currently I spend 41 hours
(including 6 x 1hr breaks) every week at uni - thats
more than high school.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


I love the fact that we were able to start practice doing
fillings in second year (on models).
I love how little assignments there are compared to
other degrees. I had one assignment in first year, one
assignment in second year, and two assignments in
third year.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF MEDICINE/ DOCTORATE OF MEDICINE


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


In high school, I was always a little unsure what I wanted
to do in university. I had a lot of switching, going from
architecture to maybe commerce to science and then
finally to medicine. Ultimately I feel like high school is a
great time for you to figure out your interests, and this
can be reflected in your subject selections also. After
realising that I really enjoyed the sciences and wanted
to help people out, I set an ambitious goal of doing
medicine, and was lucky enough to achieve that goal!

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
ERIC XU
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2013
ATAR
99.75
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
2ND

Whilst I applied everywhere for medicine, UNSW was


still the standout. It had, by far, the best medical training
program there is in Australia. Furthermore, it was close
(geographically) to my high school, which meant the
travel time wouldnt be as bad. Lastly, Ive heard of all
about the positive atmosphere and societies within
UNSW - and whats more, was that almost all of my high
school friends were coming to UNSW.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
Different medicine programs around the world teach it
with slight variations, but essentially we learn the basic
clinical sciences that are required for a medical student,
coupled with further clinical training on-campus as well
as in hospital environments. Ultimately we learn vital
skills that are necessary for us as interns, residents and
eventually registrars in the workforce.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Just some qualities that I can think off the top of my
head are:
Good work ethic
Consistent study throughout your life
Dedication
Like to engage interactions with people
Helping people
Interpersonal skills (which can obviously be
developed over time)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
Good question. HAHA. No, aside from all the studying
and exams (which every course has anyway), there are
so many good things about medicine. Just like any
course, you can make great, lifelong friends, and find
people with similar hobbies. However, due to similar
timetables, and the relative geographical exclusion
from the rest of the campus, you really do spend a lot
of time with your fellow meddies, and develop an even
stronger bond.

forward to the next few years in medicine when Im in


hospital every day of the week!
Also if youre scared of sick patients (or are
immunocompromised) then maybe it might be slightly
difficult to do medicine initially, but I have no doubt that
you will also get over that and enjoy medicine greatly!

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

Moreover, you know that at the end of the day, youll


be able to use the knowledge you learnt so arduously
to save peoples lives, which is probably one of the
reasons why youd want to do medicine the first place!
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
The studying? Haha nah, once again, every course
has their own pros and cons. With medicine, there is
slightly more studying required for the first few years,
as that really sets the groundwork for your clinical
development later on. However, if youre someone who
doesnt like to rote learn masses of science (which is
actually me right now!), then you might find it slightly
boring initially, but trust me when I say Im looking

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF MEDICINE/ DOCTORATE OF MEDICINE


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I was never too sure about what I wanted to do after high
school, but I could never see myself at a desk job for life.
I wanted something that would always challenge me and
keep me interested, something where I wouldnt simply
be relying on what I learnt in textbooks and notes, but
also learning through experiences. Talking to friends and
teachers, as well as looking into different guides such as
this one, I figured Medicine would be my goal.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
SHUBASH QUAZI
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
99.65
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
2ND

39

With this degree, there arent many universities that offer


it; in NSW, undergraduate is offered at USYD, UNSW,
WSU and UoN. I messed up my applications for WSU
and UoN, forgetting to submit important components
of the application (such as an ATAR Estimate), so
make sure you look into what each university needs
in its application process. In the end, I was tossing up
between UNSW and Monash University in Victoria, but
decided to go to UNSW because of the simplicity of
being able to live at home, the majority of my friends
attending UNSW and because UNSW offered the MD in
comparison to the MBBS at Monash.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
Oh boy, this is such a loaded question. Content
wise, you learn everything that Zafar mentions in this
publication, but you also pick up skills in communication
and reflection. Not only is communication taught directly
through clinical skills and hospital sessions, but its also
reinforced through continuous interaction with older
and younger years. You will also learn to be a reflective
practitioner through thought provoking tutorials
on ethical issues facing medical practitioners and a
variety of assignments that focus on your development
throughout the degree.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Good communication skills are essential to be studying
this degree and youll generally be assessed on these
through interviews at most universities. On top of this,
it is important to be motivated and genuinely want to
do the degree and be successful in it, as it is a very long
course that starts off intense and just keeps getting
more intense. Not to put anyone off, but depression is a
major issue amongst medical students, not only due to
the stress of the workload but also because of the cases
presented, so it is important to understand this and have
the confidence to seek help if you need it.

friends, not able to make every social outing. That all


being said, in my opinion, its all worth it, so if youre not
of the same mindset, I would not recommend doing it.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


Theres a lot to like about the degree. The variety in
content and teaching is a constant challenge that
always keeps you interested. There are so many
opportunities available to pursue your interests, and
having my options open for the future in terms of
what I will specialise in and such is something I really
appreciate. There is a lot of independent study and
development throughout the degree, but I also really
enjoy the support, from both teachers and fellow
students in medicine. Finally, what I enjoy most about
my degree and what gets me through the long hours of
study is the satisfaction I get in knowing that one day
hopefully, all this effort will pay off and I will be able to
have a serious positive impact on peoples lives.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Pressure. Pressure. Pressure. So much of it. If you dont
have interest in the degree, it really is not something you
can force yourself through. There is pressure for exams,
there is pressure when dealing with colleagues, there is
pressure when dealing with patients. Without the right
motivation, doing the degree would be a pain. Youll be
studying long hours, not quite as free as your non-med

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF MEDICINE/ DOCTORATE OF MEDICINE


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


My parents had a background in biomedical fields and
I grew up reading some of their old textbooks from Sri
Lanka. I didnt understand all that much about it, but
it was kind of interesting. If that was all, I could have
sufficed with a hobbyist reading of biomedical literature
and called it a day but being a doctor also means being
an investigator. You have to hunt, strategise and stop the
health problem in its tracks. As Ive always been a huge
fan of detective characters from Miss Marple to Holmes,
choosing this degree made sense.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
ZAFAR RIZVI
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2012
ATAR
99.45
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
3RD

41

Although the degree and uni end up choosing you, Im


glad I ended up at UNSW for a few reasons. UNSW was
local, few minutes down the road from my high school
(literally), and thats quite a blessing in terms of saving
on accommodation and the like if I had otherwise gone
interstate for medicine. Ive met some incredible friends
here and there aint no uni that can beat that arvo sunset
down main walkway.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
A bunch of subjects are taught together by organ
systems/medical specialty. For example we will learn
the respiratory system and that will include learning:
Anatomy, Physiology, Microbio, Biochem, Pharmacology
and Pathology. From 3rd year onwards you spend more
time covering the material in more detail and with
greater clinical focus (which is way more interesting to
be honest).

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Communication and empathy are the big ones for
obvious reasons. You have to be open enough to speak
to and understand people on some level so you can find
out more about their problems but also to console them.
Patience is another quality that is incredibly valuable but
often much underrated. You are not going to remember
every drug and disease ever known by the first year or
even by sixth year. Nor are you going to be earning as
early as all your shorter degree compadres and your
hours will be long. The patient students see all these
lengthy demands as part of the long game in med,
saving themselves a lot of worry and instead focuses on
what needs to be done.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


The lecturers and tutors are very unique characters and
more than happy to have a chat with you as they walk
by. A culture of teaching make you feel like you are part
of a long tradition of students and doctors.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
The timetable is the worst. It is not in sync with all of
your other friends so it makes catching up hard. Whilst
all your friends in other courses think they are unlucky
because they organised their timetable badly, youll be
wishing yourself good luck in getting used to medicine
timetables that change every week. There is a lot to
learn and whilst you can spend considerable time
understanding concepts, much needs to be memorised.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE AND BUSINESS (PSYCHOLOGY)


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I picked my degree based on what my interests were in
high school. I felt a strong calling for psychology, but also
realised that business would be very helpful in finding a
job in the future. However, what attracted me most to my
degree is that although it may seem like a double degree,
its actually more science-oriented. Thus I do less business
subjects which was something I was not aware of prior to
choosing it.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
UNSW has always been at the top of my list ever since
I was a little girl. I like the atmosphere of UNSW and its
modern design. Not only is it physically attractive, its
also a very well-recognised university, making it twice as
attractive!
NAME
RACHEL CHEN
SCHOOL
OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART COLLEGE

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR


2013
ATAR
92.50
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
2ND

43

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
Since I can only major in the science part of my
degree, I get an intensive insight into all the aspects of
psychology, whether it be the personality, behaviour
or physiological factors within the subject. The science
half of my degree is the more dominant part, and
so the major you choose for it will provide you the
in-depth knowledge you will need if you decide to
pursue a career in it later on. In the business part, I
also get a choice to specialise in either a marketing
or management stream, very different to that of the
commerce degree.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
I believe that you need to be very focused throughout
the duration of the entire degree. Science in university
is different to what it is in high school. Its no longer just
rote learning, but requires you to apply the knowledge
that youve learnt. With that being said, it does not
mean that you cant have fun. However, it would be
optimal if you made sure not to fall behind. University
requires you to learn at a fast pace and once you fall
behind, it takes twice as much work to catch up.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


I like that my degree is a combination of the two
subjects I really enjoy, all crammed into one single
degree. Although it gives little flexibility in the business
side, I still love that I can pursue a business career in
management or marketing. This degree only requires 4
science electives, and so it is more focused on my major.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
At the end of the day, although it is great to have the two
in one deal, both management and marketing are aspects
of business that you can easily pick up with or without a
major or specialisation in it. Also, its harder to find a job in
science after graduation, but not impossible!

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF COMMERCE (BUSINESS INFORMATION SYSTEMS)


MACQ

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I had 2 options to pick - Marine Science or Commerce.
I grew up loving the ocean and marine life, so I wanted
to study Marine Science. Commerce on the other hand,
was the one my parents thought would be a degree
useful and relevant in society. In the end I went with
Commerce but I have future plans to transfer to a
course related to marine biology.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
Macquarie was the only place to go to study
Commerce at my ATAR range. But I definitely would
have gone to UNSW or USYD if I was able to.

NAME
JAMES LEE
SCHOOL
HOMEBUSH BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
85.00
UNIVERSITY
MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
In one sentence I would say: How businesses organise
their information using databases and use this to make
critical business decisions.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
1. Understands how businesses work in real life - The
course covers concepts about how businesses work
in the real world, so having these fundamentals
understood prior would definitely help.
2. Able to imagine multiple scenarios - This will
help you to understand how the concepts in the
course can actually be applied. For example,
an assignment may ask you to devise an actual
business from scratch. Being able to create
multiple scenarios and alternatives in your mind
will help a lot.
3. Genuinely interested in how businesss function.
- This I believe is the most important part of a
person doing this degree. If a person is interested,
they will go out of their way to do further research
outside of the textbooks and lectures. Anyone who
somewhat lacks this quality, will find the course to
be unenjoyable.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


There are a couple of things I do like.
You learn concepts which can be applicable to actual
businesses. For example, my Dad manages an
accommodation business, and from the concepts Ive
learnt from the degree, I can engage in light discussions
with my Dad about how the business can function.
The lecturers and tutors are likable. I particularly like the
tutors since they are very passionate about what they
teach which is something I value.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
A lack of interest for the course is a big one for me.
Personally being interested in Marine Science, my focus
and interest has been going downhill as the course
progresses. For me, I find the degree is extremely
boring. But thats just me.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ECONOMICS
UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


To be honest, I have always been interested in the
business/economics areas of study ever since choosing
commerce as an elective in year 9. Business Studies
and Economics were also two of my better HSC
subjects. As well as having a prior passion for this area
of study, the potential career options offered by this
degree were endless which differed between the wide
arrays of majors available. Thorough research into
the courses offered by UNSW and its potential career
opportunities, as well as other related factors such
as starting salaries, UNSW sponsors and partners all
essentially led me to choosing this degree.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
NEWTON XIE
SCHOOL
ARTHUR PHILLIP HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
87.75
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

47

To me, if the opportunity presented itself, I wanted to


study at a more prestigious university in Sydney, which
narrowed down my list to USYD and UNSW. After
visiting both USYD and UNSW Open Days, UNSW
had my pick in terms of student lifestyle, culture and
environment. Having friends studying at UNSW also
played a role in my decision.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
A sound understanding in high school mathematics
definitely helps in the area of study as I have learnt.
Also, English skills such as essay and report writing can
certainly be applied into subjects such as Economic
Analysis and Marketing.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
The number of hours for this course is relatively low in
comparison to some other courses. This allows extra time for
studying or participating in other extra-curricular activities.
Additionally, the course provides a very clear insight into the
real life business and economical world, where the content
learnt in this course can certainly be applied in todays
economic situations.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Economics is a very competitive area of study, which
requires immense work in order to standout from
competitors and attaining a good job.

Despite only studying the course for a semester and


a half, I have learnt many useful concepts, which can
certainly be applied into real life situations. These
included statistics and probability, economics, both,
micro and macroeconomics, accounting, marketing,
and mathematics, which can be applied into business
and economics. All these concepts have moulded my
foundation and basic understanding of key business
concepts used in everyday society.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF ACTUARIAL STUDIES (FINANCE)


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I found that most people are unaware of actuarial
studies, especially during the time I had to pick my
degree 3 years ago. I began to consider actuarial
studies after my maths teacher from high school
recommended me to look into it given that maths was
one of my stronger subjects. I did my research and
talked to family friends who went down this path. I
also attend the open days at UNSW and Macquarie
University to get a better understanding of what the
degree entails and I decided it was for me.

apply them straight away. Its similar to a finance degree


in that you need to conceptually understand real life
problems and then use those math equations to quantity
those concepts. For example in life insurance, the insurer
would want to how likely a person will die because
thats when the insurance company will need to pay the
family a lump sum of money. So from an Actuarys point
of view, you need to mathematically estimate when the
person will die and how much premium the insured
should pay the insurer such that they dont make a loss.
You need to conceptually understand the situation and
then apply your mathematical skills to use numbers to
justify your answer.

in my degree. I also enjoy that my degree is not as dry/


complicated as a maths degree, but also slightly more
challenging than a commerce degree.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?

I wouldnt do my degree because of the competitive


nature of it; in and outside of uni. Firstly, its
competitive inside uni because all students aim to get
at least a Credit (a mark of 65) in the subject to qualify
for your Part 1 exemptions (there are 3 external exams
that you need to complete during your work life to
be a qualified Actuary, similar to an accountant). Also,
the role of an actuary is becoming widely known and
every year the number of actuarial graduates increases.
This makes it harder to look for an internship/graduate
position/job.

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

NAME
DORIS KONG
SCHOOL
OUR LADY OF THE SACRED HEART COLLEGE

HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR


2012
ATAR
98.20
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
3RD

After deciding on an actuarial degree I was only left


with 2 options - UNSW or Macquarie, since they are
the only universities in Sydney that offer the course.
I attended both unis information session about the
degree and talked with past students to see why they
chose their respective unis. Macquarie has definitely
developed a strong reputation in the actuarial field
over the past years and for this I was quite convinced
to go there. In saying that, both universities have quite
a high cut off rate for the actuarial degree (approx
97 ATAR) and I feel that both universities do offer the
same level of academics, so I wasnt too concerned
about the quality of my degree from either university. In
the end I chose UNSW because of the vibrant student
life on campus, their connections and network with
corporate companies and the various development
opportunities for students to pick up skills that cannot
be learnt in a classroom (academic student societies,
volunteer opportunities, case competitions, etc.)
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
Actuarial studies is a mix between a pure maths degree
and a finance degree. Its similar to a maths degree in
the sense that there are many formulas that you need
to know, but you dont need to prove all of them. The
best part is that you can just take those formulas and

49

The first reaction I always get when I tell people I study


actuarial studies is oh wow! Thats so hard. Honestly
speaking I think all degrees are hard no matter what
you do. There is no easy way out, everyone who is
studying at university are extremely smart and capable
people. You just need to commit to your degree and
persevere through the tough times. Actuarial Studies
is a hard degree in the sense you need to pick up new
skills and master them by your final exams, all within
the span of 3-4 months. But everyone is in the same
boat as you; no one has learnt any of those skills in
high school. You just need the right learning attitude
to be able to try and understand all the examples
and concepts presented and power through. There
will definitely be times when you dont understand
what is going on, thats completely fine as well, ask
your friends, your tutors, your lecturers. Theres always
someone there to help.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
Personally, when I achieve something that started off
to be extremely complicated I feel a great sense of
accomplishment because I can look back and see how
far Ive come. And this is a constantly recurring feeling

Also, because everyone is struggling within the same degree


you grow to be very close with your actuarial friends. You
get to see them all the time in your classes, whereas for a
commerce student you usually get mixed with people with
different majors (account, finance, marketing, management,
etc.) So youre definitely surrounded with people who have a
similar mindset as you in the actuarial degree.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

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BACHELOR OF LAW
BACHELOR OF COMMERCE (FINANCE) - UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I chose Commerce because one of my favourite
subjects in high school was Economics. I also find
business-related content interesting.
I chose Law because I have no idea what job I want and
I heard that Law is a flexible degree that broadens your
opportunities. My degree is essentially a 5 year delay
tactic. I also chose it because UNSW law lectures are
held in small classes with a major portion of your marks
dedicated to Class Participation. After high school, I
had a goal of graduating university as the best possible
version of myself that I could achieve, and I felt that
the biggest area I needed to improve on was my
communication skills.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
NAME
WILLIAM ZHOU
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
99.25
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

I chose UNSW mainly because everyone else from my


high school is at UNSW, and its just down the road. I
didnt have to adjust my routine or anything. UNSW
also has more societies and (arguably) better parties.
Moreover, USYD Law degrees are taught with the
traditional lecture and tutorial format, as opposed to
UNSW which uses more modern teaching methods.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
1st year Commerce courses teach you the basics of the
business world, so that you can gain an insight into each
school and get a sense of what you want to major in.
There are 4 compulsory subjects including Accounting
(balance sheets, income statements, etc), Statistics,
Microeconomics (very similar to preliminary and HSC
economics) and Management, which Id advise you
avoid until later in your degree whereupon you have
better developed essay writing skills.
The 1st year law subjects are Introducing Law and
Justice, and Torts. ILJ provides you with a background

51

of the Australian law system, including how legislation is


passed, its history and origins, statutory interpretation,
how to read a case, etc. Torts is the law of civil wrongs,
ie learning about how individuals and companies can
sue each other.
WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU
BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Perseverance would be the most helpful quality.
Commerce/Law can be quite challenging and it can
often be difficult to maintain a balance between work,
study, extra-curricular and leisure. The idea of a five
year degree is also quite daunting.
Passion is also very helpful. If you dont find a subject
interesting then youll slowly start to resent it and you
wont perform well.

Certain Commerce courses can also become extremely


dry and boring. Unfortunately most of these are
compulsory core courses, so theres not much you can
do about it.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

Time management is CRUCIAL. LAW AND ALL


NIGHTERS DO NOT MIX. LEARN FROM MY
MISTAKES. SAVE YOURSELVES.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
The best things I like about my degree is the fact that it is
both challenging and interesting. The two degrees provide
a unique insight into how the world and Australian society
works in a very thought-provoking way. They have also been
extremely helpful in developing my communication and
critical thinking skills.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
In terms of law, the readings are the most unattractive
aspect of the degree. Unfortunately, the law schools
standards of concise and understandable writing do
not apply to High Court judges. I have read 5 line long
sentences and words that havent been used for the
past 500 years. At times the content can also become
extremely dry.

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF LAW
BACHELOR OF COMMERCE (FINANCE) - MACQ

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


I chose commerce and law because it is a pair of
degrees which provides a lot of options in terms
of future career paths. It is not so restricting and is
therefore a good choice for the indecisive. I wasnt
exactly sure what I wanted to be when I am older and
commerce in combination with law would give me a lot
of room to decide what I wanted to do.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
Given that I had my eyes set on commerce and law,
Macquarie was the most achievable ATAR-wise since
I did not want to do commerce at UNSW and then
bother with transferring later.

NAME
KIRSTEN QUACH
SCHOOL
MERIDEN SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
The degree has both theoretical and practical
elements but honestly Im not too sure what Im
learning at this point. Commerce is definitely a very
broad degree though.

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
Organisational and time management skills you
gotta stay on top of things because there is so
much work.
You also need self-motivation and discipline since
there isnt always a consequence for not doing the
work required.
Patience to get through readings. Speed reading is
useful here.
Strong writing skills

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


You learn a lot of new things about a variety of topics and
gain a lot of new skills.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
There is so much work, all the time. There is a lot
of out of class reading and work so you need to be
able to manage yourself. There is also group work in
commerce so its useful to like people.

ATAR
95.95
UNIVERSITY
MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF LAW
BACHELOR OF COMMERCE (FINANCE) - UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


Like many of you, I had no idea what I wanted to do in
year 12. Despite my love for the sciences I landed in a
combined degree of Commerce/Law. Why? Just like half
my colleagues, because I could. Im ashamed to admit
that especially since Ive always been an advocate of
doing things you love and not things just because you
can. But my decision wasnt completely unreasoned.

NAME
EVAN WONG
SCHOOL
SYDNEY BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2010
ATAR
99.10
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
5TH

As I near the end of my degree, Ive come to realise that


there are two things that a university degree can embody
(1) a pathway and necessary repository of knowledge
needed for your dream career or; (2) the education of a
particular system of thinking which transcends the obvious
and expected professions of that degree. If you already
know what you want to do as a career, good for you! You
are a rare breed and a degree for you is the first type of
embodiment, one which you automatically know you have
to do. But if youre unsure what you want to do, do not
underestimate the weight of the second embodiment.
For example, everyone is made to learn years of maths in
their schooling career. Is this because were all expected
to become mathematicians or even to use maths in our
future careers? Definitely not. In fact, virtually everyone
will have forgotten most of the maths they learnt in school
by the time they leave university. But it is the logical
thinking, familiarity with numbers and the identification
and application of patterns and rules that sticks with them
for life. University degrees are no exception. Although I
wasnt passionate about law itself, I was passionate about
the skills and development it offered. Further, by putting
myself in a high achieving environment it satisfied my
ambitious nature to keep up with the best.

In hindsight, I would recommend doing more research on


all the factors that make a great university. Yes the name is
important but you should also consider other factors like
teaching philosophy, student services and facilities and
student life and culture. A great way is to speak with people
already studying there.

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
On the commerce side, I learnt about fundamental
concepts required to understand and operate in the
world of business in my first year. This included statistics,
economics, accounting, marketing and finance. In my
finance major, I was trained to understand the time-value
of money, how to evaluate and price investments and
manage wealth. Its about 60% theory, 40% financial
calculations.
On the law side, I learnt about all types of law
negligence, criminal, constitutional, intellectual property,
bankruptcy, contracts, corporate, land and trusts. That is,
you learn the law governing people slipping on wet floors
all the way through to what the government can or cannot
do to you. This is done through two lenses.
1. Substantive: involves solving legal problems in
factual scenarios by applying logic, principles and
reason.
2. Policy: involves writing essays and debating why the
law should be that way.

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?

WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU


BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?

Given the reputation of the universities and my ambitious


nature, I was really only picking between USYD and UNSW.
With no real preference for either, I ended up picked UNSW
because all my friends were going there. Looking back, that
is potentially the worst reason since the nature of uni is that
you will very quickly branch off from your high school friends.
Luckily for me, I fell in love with UNSW and I really do think
this was the best environment for my tertiary development.

For commerce, be comfortable with basic arithmetic.


Otherwise, pretty much anyone can do well.
For lawAs my law lecturers always remind us, lawyers do
not have hammers, calculators or computer programs. The
only tool of trade that lawyers have is language. Be good at
English, be a good written communicator and be confident
to speak up in class. Being logical, a good problem solver
and opinionated about social and legal issues is also helpful.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?


Firstly, Commerce/Law has very few hours of class a week.
This meant that I could do a lot more outside of classes
which have led to my various rewarding roles. Secondly,
Commerce/Law developed skills for life which I find very
useful. From commerce Ive learnt the mechanics of
money as well as principles such as cost-benefit analysis
which help me make many decisions in my everyday
life. From law, Ive developed an ability to communicate
at a very high level both written and verbal and; have
sharpened my focus on compelling logic and reason
in formulating and deconstructing arguments. Thirdly,
commerce and law is in every aspect of every single
persons lives and therefore what you learn can be seen in
everything around you.

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
Commerce and law is a very competitive degree and
naturally flows on from a very competitive career path. In
order to be successful in securing a good job in this field,
youll need to be ambitious, high-achieving and stand out
as being one of the best in a massive cohort.
For law specifically, there is a lot of (dry) reading. And
the approach of law classes is very different from other
degrees. Lectures are generally not used to teach you the
theory. You are expected to read and learn everything
before the lecture in which you then discuss the material in
class (with class participation usually accounting for 20% of
your grades in every law subject). In other words, there is a
lot of pre-class preparation with very little spoon-feeding.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF MEDIA ARTS (HONOURS)


UNSW

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


Choosing my degree was a split decision between
sciences or creative, both of which I have an interest in.
From the HSC I didnt get the ATAR I had hoped for in
getting into the 80-90 range. however I did manage
to get into a course out of my range with a portfolio
scheme - Media Arts at COFA (UNSW Art and Design),
which gave me the opportunity to explore the film/
animation degree a bit further. For reference I put Applied
Chemistry as my second preference, with the former
being the obvious choice for me at that point as my
passion for filmmaking grew from my online experience
and school projects in Visual Arts. Currently Im planning
to transfer to another degree thats also creative but more
practical involving product design either at UTS or USYD.
HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?
NAME
PETER TRAN
SCHOOL
TEMPE HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
70.10
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

Before the offers were released, I always wanted to


go to UNSW. When I looked at courses I didnt go by
universities but in terms of how credible and specialised
they were in a particular career. Not before but recently
for my transfer I made sure I researched a lot more than
the UAC book, by reading into their online handbook
where there is more detail on the subjects. By now
you should roughly know what field you are interested
in; dont be frustrated if you dont. If you dont, then
be sure to really take time to research via internet,
through friends, mentors, university students or even the
university itself. Theyd be more than happy to help you
with what they have to offer you as a student.

studies help you put your own ideas in perspective.


Whereas the technical side brings your concept
and vision together. Its mainly a degree catered to
animation I feel.
WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU
BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69

Fearless, risk-taker, open-minded, technology


savvy, expressive.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?
I liked the technical side involving filming and
editing because I already enjoy doing it in my own
time as a hobby.
WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT
WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
You wouldnt want to do Media Arts if you dont like
art history, drawing, working creatively in a team and
doing vaguely open-ended assignments.

Remember also to look into subcultures at university,


often in clubs or volunteering to make the most of your
university social life.
IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN
YOUR DEGREE?
I will say in Media Arts, you learn the creative thinking
and process behind art and the technicality of industry
work in animation, film or cross-media. The contextual

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COURSE INSIGHTS

BACHELOR OF DESIGN IN VISUAL COMMUNICATIONS


ARTS IN INTERNATIONAL STUDIES - UTS

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR DEGREE?


Ive had an interest in the creative industry since
primary school. However, during my high school
stage, I developed that interest from simply drawing,
into the more specialised field of graphic design.
Ive pursued this hobby into my senior years at high
school, choosing Visual Arts as one of my subjects, and
ultimately to where I am now. I also love Japan; their
culture, their language, and their products. Coming
out of a high school without any Japanese language
classes, I want to also pursue this interest, so I decided
I want a double degree consisting of graphic design
and international studies. The two closest results were
Bachelor of Design in Visual Communications and
Bachelor of Arts in International Studies offered at UTS,
and Bachelor of Design (Hons) offered at UNSW COFA
(now called UNSWAD).
NAME
ANDREW WING HYMN WONG
SCHOOL
ASHFIELD BOYS HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2013
ATAR
79.25
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY
DEGREE YEAR
1ST

59

HOW DID YOU PICK YOUR UNIVERSITY?


My university decision was very easy for me. Once I knew
what I wanted to do, all that was left is to find a university
offering my desired degree. For me, this choice is made
really simple because of the fact that out of the Big Three
universities (USYD, UTS, UNSW), only two of them offered
any form of design. Out of UTS and UNSW, only UTS
offered a combined degree with International Studies. So
in a way, my degree decision picked out my university
for me.
However, getting into my university wasnt easy due to my
ATAR. The biggest challenge getting into UTS from HSC
was the ATAR requirement of 95.25. I didnt achieve a high
enough ATAR to jump straight into UTS, but I received
an offer from UNSW for their Bachelor of Design (Hons). I
accepted the offer and spent a year there but didnt expect
to stay, as I was determined to transfer out into UTS. The
transfer process is relatively simple, I applied through UAC
and submitted a portfolio as well. I picked the two Viscom
degrees because all I needed was to transfer into UTS, and
I can add International Studies on top if I needed to. Luckily
I got into my dream degree.

IN A NUTSHELL, WHAT DO YOU LEARN IN


YOUR DEGREE?
Graphic design and a language.
WHAT ARE SOME QUALITIES THAT YOU
BELIEVE ARE HELPFUL FOR A PERSON
STUDYING YOUR DEGREE?
First of all, I believe everybody should choose a degree
they love. How great is it to get paid to do what you
love to do? This applies to me and this degree. The
creative industry is not easy; we dont get the same
career paths as the other degrees because our portfolio
is our value, and if you dont love what you do, you
wont have the discipline to further yourself in order to
create a good portfolio which in turn would lead you to
your dream job.
Second, I think a helpful quality would be friendly.
Design is a combination of technical skill, concept
creation, and communication. You may be very
technically knowledgable and can think of some really
cool concepts for a project, but if you cant sell your
idea, youll be very redundant in the real world. Not
everybody will see eye to eye with you, but your job
would be to help them understand the world you see.
Third, I think a person studying design needs a
combination of stubbornness, humility, and can take
criticism. Stubbornness because you dont want to be
a pushover, humility because overconfidence is never
good, and criticism finds you, and if you cant handle it
well, then youre in a world of hurt. You also need to be
able to use those criticism to further your idea.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR DEGREE?

get to know it. Its close to the City, so that means that
you meet friends everywhere, get wifi whenever youre
at the City, and you can also do some work at the City.
The course is structured well as you are subjected to
a wide variety of disciplines of graphic design. One of
the major frustrations I encountered at UNSW is that
their first year design course is catered to design as a
whole, whereas UTSs first year course caters to graphic
designers. I found it very relieving that I can develop my
own skills and my conceptual thinking simultaneously,
rather than practice skills that I wont use.
Hahaha just kidding, only top Three!

WHAT ARE REASONS WHY YOU WOULD NOT


WANT TO DO YOUR DEGREE?
If your study style can be described with motivation,
cramming, memorising, I dont think youd have
a good time. This degree require discipline, project
planning/scheduling and execution. There are no tests,
but that just means that youre also under constant
stress for projects.

OTHER QUESTIONS
ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 69
WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES
YOUR UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
SEE RESPONSE ON PAGE 63

I love everything about my degree, but I guess thats a bit


vague. Top five would be (in no particular order):
The people you meet, friends you make, rivals you
challenge (maybe only in your head).
The campus UTS is a really nice campus once you

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GAP YEAR
BACHELOR OF COMMERCE/ECONOMICS - UNSW

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO TAKE A GAP YEAR?

NAME
KEVIN LIM
SCHOOL
PICNIC POINT HIGH SCHOOL
HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION YEAR
2014
ATAR
93.00
UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES

In my opinion, gap years are taken for various reasons


unique to the person. Some people take it to travel,
for me personally, it was because I went to uni without
much idea on what I wanted to do, and picked
commerce because it seemed general enough and
everyone went with it. However, after attending uni
for about month, I felt a bit lost in what I wanted to
do and the direction of my life. I deferred my degree
before the census date and took the gap year to get
in touch with myself and spend the time to figure out
what I wanted to do with my life. The way I see it,
a degree is an investment in your future career, the
career that youre going to spend the next 30-40 years
in, investing your time, money and effort in a 4 or 5
year degree is a massive commitment, thats time and
money (HECS debt, textbooks etc.) youre never going
to get back, if you decide that youve invested yourself
and effort in the wrong area. I dont believe in doing
something half-heartedly and decide somewhere along
the line that the degree is not suitable or it doesnt
align with own personal values and direction in life. I
dont think a gap year is necessary for everyone, if its
not necessary to take one then dont, because youd
risk wasting a year of your life doing jack all, but if it is
something you feel necessary, make sure your doing it
for the right reasons. Definitely set goals in what you
want to achieve in that year, and dedicate time and
effort in them, dont waste a full year of your life. If you
dont design your own life plan, chances are youll fall
into someone elses plan. And guess what they have
planned for you? Not much. Jim Rohn

WHAT WERE YOUR PERSONAL PLANS AND


GOALS FOR YOUR GAP YEAR?

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE OR ACHIEVED THUS FAR


IN YOUR GAP YEAR?

Initially, I had the plan to save up and go travel, and


experience different cultures and gain a wider world
view, because after the HSC, Ive realized growing
up in the same area, same suburb, same city, its as
if youre encapsulated in your own little bubble. The
world doesnt revolve around you and neither does
the world exist within your own little bubble. Outside
of your comfort zone, there are many other issues and
things that exist. There are people in this world whose
lives are the complete contrast of yours. But I guess Im
only human tbh, and I lost sight of my goals for a while.
I didnt save up my money and ended up spending
it elsewhere, so the travelling never happened. But
instead, I spent quite some time, pondering about
what is in store for me in the future, and what direction
I wanted to take my life towards. The main thing Id say
is life experience. Nothing is more invaluable than life
experience, in terms of growth and maturity as a person.

If youre expecting a list of amazing achievements


that Ive achieved during my gap year then youd be
disappointed. The main thing is I spent a lot of time
thinking about life and where I wanted to head towards,
and many other things. Other than that, I worked mostly.
I did sales for a bit here and there - I sold charities (if
thats the right way to put it). I also sold insurance. In my
personal opinion, sales is gruelling and if you can master
sales then I believe there are many things you can
achieve, and even at this point, I got to admit, I couldnt
handle it and left the job. Its always easy to talk the
walk but never easy to walk the talk. This is an honest
and real publication, so Im not going to lie and brag
about the things Ive achieved, but merely talk about my
experiences and the philosophy Ive arrived to about life
at this point in my life.

DEGREE YEAR
GAP YEAR

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62

UNIVERSITY
INSIGHTS
SEE WHAT DIFFERENTIATES
UNIVERSITIES FROM A STUDENTS
PERSPECTIVE

STUDENTS WERE ASKED:


WHAT DO YOU THINK SEPARATES YOUR
UNIVERSITY FROM THE OTHERS? WHAT
DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?

UNIVERSITIES INCLUDE

+
University of New South Wales
+ 
University of Sydney
+ 
University of Technology Sydney
+
Macquarie University

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UNIVERSITY INSIGHTS

UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY

UNSW

USYD

JASON ZHANG

RACHEL CHEN

BOB JIN

KIMBERLEY BUI

What I love about UNSW is that if you set yourself out to


try new things, there will always be something to do on
campus. I enjoy how difficult it is to be bored on campus
during breaks unless you actively try to be bored.

It is definitely the student life of UNSW that really


shines and makes it the best university of them all.
I love that UNSW is such a tight community and
everyone is so friendly on and off campus. The people
you meet at UNSW are really people who make you
feel like you belong and I can say that the friends that
Ive made here have become my family!!

USYD is a truly exceptional university. You may have


heard or seen all the glamour about it, read about all
the banter and hate against other universities, or think
we are just pretentious pricks. But underneath all that
hype, there are the normal people that just aim really
high and always keen to try new things. You are also
offered opportunities not available in other universities,
such as industry placement programs (local and
international), a beautiful campus, and being able to
network in a different environment.

My university, specifically the Cumberland campus, is


much smaller than UNSW or main campus USYD. This
means that the cohorts are also smaller and theres a
greater chance in making close friends within the first
year. Each day, theres a lunch time from 12-1pm
in which no classes are run, so everyone has lunch
together which is pretty cool. Being a Health Science
campus, if you want to do undergraduate courses like
physiotherapy, exercise physiology, sport science,
speech pathology or occupational therapy, youll be
at this campus. Students doing the Bachelor of Health
Sciences complete some of their majors/units at
Cumbo as well as main campus.

JASON LIU
A large majority of people will go to UNSW so its
really fun because youll have friends everywhere which
makes breaks much more enjoyable!
ERIC XU
There is an awesome array of student developmental
programs like the O-week Yellow Shirts which is great
for making heaps of friends and developing yourself as
a person outside of the classroom.
EVAN WONG
The one thing that leaps out for me at UNSW is the
vibrant and active student life that is unparalleled by
other universities. The student societies, volunteer
programs and student culture make your university
experience fun and allow you to develop those
personal and professional skills which cannot be
developed by sitting in lectures something that has
heavily shaped who I am today.

NEWTON XIE
Definitely the student life, campus facilities and
friendliness of fellow peers.
DORIS KONG
Student Life at UNSW is absolutely amazing. Honestly
Im not the smartest person people know and thats
okay. Life isnt just about knowledge, its also about
being able to talk to people, working in a team, taking
responsibility for your work, etc. You learn all these
skills through the roles you take up at UNSW. You also
meet your closest friends at university and to do that
you need to go out to events. Its not easy stepping
outside of your comfort zone but everyone at UNSW
is so friendly and all the older students who you will
meet, started off where you are today so dont be
afraid to take up new opportunities/positions that you
havent tried before.

If you worry that all your friends went to another


university, dont fret. You will have PLENTY of chances
to mingle with them and other university fellas and
felladies
Tldr; usyd is pretty sexy and is only a 5minute walk from
redfern station, compared to a 30min bus ride from
central.

I also love that its closer than the city for me so I can
sleep in more before going to class LOL

ANNIE XIE
You can walk from one side of the campus to the other
side in less than 10 minutes and there is no hill or
hundreds of stairs. You can also take pictures in front of
Hogwarts when you graduate.
CARMEN CHAN
Were majestic. And were probably the second easiest
uni to get to apart from UTS. You get off the train and
you can run if youre late, you can snail it there with
your friends (and talk about stuff that makes everyone
question whether you go to uni), BUT there is no need
to wait for a bus nor for the train to crawl into Central
Station so its pretty easy to predict how much time you
need to travel.

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UNIVERSITY INSIGHTS

UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY SYDNEY

MACQUARIE UNIVERSITY

UTS

MACQ

FELICIA GONG

ANDREW WONG

KIRSTEN QUACH

EVERYTHING!!! I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT IT!!! Here


at UTS I believe we give more of a practical insight into
working in the real world. We are constantly creating
more connections with different businesses around
the world creating more opportunities for students.
There are also many ways to get more involved in
uni and its not just uni work. Theres a whole bunch
of extracurricular activities such as BUiLD, SOUL,
MuscUTS and many more clubs that you can join to
help make you a better you.

Bruhhh UTS offers the best design degree out of all


the universities. There is a reason why we have such a
high ATAR requirement and have people like me who
transferred from UNSW and UWS. UTS REPRESENT!

People are not as smart but at the same time, are a


lot less stuck up than people from the other unis. This
creates a better environment and the people are nicer
to chill with.

KATHLEEN DU

SAIF KIBRIA
What I absolutely love about UTS is the convenience
of travel. It is literally a 2 minute walk from the station.
The few times I have been to UNSW and USYD, it
amazes me how much you need to walk even between
subjects. In UTS theres minimal walking and that makes
a big difference. Or maybe Im just lazy.

Its in the middle of the city = close to china town =


yum cha between classes HAHA

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GENERAL
TIPS FOR
YEAR 12
LEAVERS
WORDS OF WISDOM FROM
PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN
THERE BEFORE

heroeducation.com.au

STUDENTS WERE ASKED:


ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR
STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?

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heroeducation.com.au

GENERAL TIPS FOR YEAR 12 LEAVERS

ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR


STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?

ALBERT CHAU

USMAN HAIDAR

BRANDON LAU

JUDY NAM

Whatever you choose to do, be decisive. I wasted


time deciding, and it cost me. I lost the opportunity
for scholarships, was forced to rush decisions, etc. To
choose to delay a choice is in itself a choice to choose
nothing.

It will be a tough transition at first but soon enough you


will enjoy the freedoms of university. Work hard now to
live like a champion for the rest of your life! Good luck!

Always research what you want to do in depth


because your expectations for that specific degree
can be drastically changed. Talk to students who are
studying that degree at the moment to have a better
understanding. You dont want to be studying your
degree for 2 years before you decide to change and
waste all your time and money.

This is your time to try new things! The experiences you


have will be your most invaluable asset as it makes who
you are. Go out of your comfort zone and face your
fears, if it doesnt challenge you it wont change you.
This will allow you to grow as a person and help you find
yourself. For me, university is probably the best thing
that has happened so far as its a place filled with great
people and great opportunities. It is up to you to make
the most out of your life.

On another note, I would also add that you have


to suffer to get the things you want in life, and the
worthwhile things are never easy. If your course is too
hard, and you want to drop it, thats no way to go
about things. Have a long hard think about why you
chose it in the first place. Welcome to life. The hard
part has just started.

MINWOO YIM
Dont convince yourself into doing what people think
you should do. Find out what you really want to do, and
enjoy doing it! Theres no use in doing what people say
you should do, realise you didnt actually like it, and start
all over again year and years down the line!
LILY LI

BOB JIN
Study something you genuinely find interesting, and
as an extra-curricular, follow your heart (like go on the
X-Factor, or make a Youtube Channel).
JASON ZHANG
In university, it is okay to skip classes sometimes but
it is not recommended. This is because in university,
a whole topic of content can be taught within 2 hours
when it would take a week at school. It is also good
to seek out all the societies and find hobbies that
interest you so you do not become so stressed with
your studies. Also to make the timetable for UNSW
use bojangles.
SAIF KIBRIA
Be open minded, and enjoy the freedom of university
that awaits you. Talk with your friends and see what
they are doing, and try get information on various
subjects they are going to do. And DONT leave
picking your degree until the last moment.

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Its okay to have a few identity crises, especially


during the HSC exams, when choosing courses and for
start of uni. It might help to see it as an inevitable part
of growing older!
Dont fall for the do it as a bludge outlook! You are
paying thousands of dollar and spending hours of
your life so that you can improve as a person. Doing
something that doesnt interest or challenge you would
be a waste. Always think about what you can achieve.
Whenever you see people advocating for extracurricular participation, all the advantages they tell you
about are true. Its almost impossible to make friends at
uni without clubs and societies. On the flip side, overcommitting can be dangerous to your grades.
You dont have worry about textbooks until one week
in. Second hand textbooks are surprisingly easy to find.
There will be a hand full of Facebook pages dedicated
to textbook exchange. More often than not, friends in
higher years will be more than happy to lend you their
first year textbooks which would otherwise be lying
around in the back shed.

ANNIE XIE
Dont be afraid to give things a go because theres
always another option.
Take every opportunity to learn and HAVE FUN on the
way.
Take advantage of the 1 month holiday in between the
semester and 3 months holiday at the end of the year
because you wont get that once you start working!!
FELICIA GONG
There is an endless amount of opportunities out there so
go right ahead and do what you want to do.
KATHLEEN DU
Find a course that really interests you and leads to a
job that you will actually enjoy doing. Dont just pick
a course that will definitely pay well or you have no
interest in as going to classes, learning the material
and ultimately getting a job in that field will only make
you dread it every day. Join clubs and attend events
especially at UTS as it does not have a definitive campus
and students tend to leave uni after/between classes to
go eat, shop or just walk around, so making friends is
harder unless they are in all of your classes.

KIMBERLEY BUI
Youll want to pick your first degree to what tailors to your
interests and personality, dont pick a degree based on
its ATAR. If you find that the course that you pick isnt
for you, it isnt the be all and end all. You can transfer to
another course or even university, provided that you have
enough credit points to do so.
In regards to friends, if you dont make any friends in
the first week of university, it is alright. ITS NORMAL.
As clichd as it sounds, just be you (add in a few jokes
and smiles) and people will find themselves gravitating
towards you, and as will you to other people!
After high school, your future isnt set yet, its just started!
JASON LIU
Go with the flow, get involved in university.

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GENERAL TIPS FOR YEAR 12 LEAVERS

ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR


STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?

CARMEN CHAN

RAYMOND HUA

Do your absolute best for the HSC, its the easiest


pathway to get into what you want to do. Have lots
and lots of fun, the HSC holiday is the best holiday
ever and it will be even better knowing you tried
your absolute best. Also, take some time out and
think about what you really want to do and not what
everyone else is doing or what is expected to be done.
If you want to be a can opener then so be it. Do your
absolute best and get 99.50, then be a can opener.
Then if it doesnt work out at least you can apply for
something else and show them youre a hard worker
and that you got 99.50. #canopenerlife

University is the only time where you are able to


really go out and have the freedom to do anything
you want without major obligations. Make sure you
utilise this and not waste away your uni years sitting
at home. Seriously, go out, party and/or go exploring
the world because there wont be a better time to do
that especially since youll most likely be entering the
workforce after uni.

BOB JIN
Study something you genuinely find interesting, and
as an extra-curricular, follow your heart (like go on the
X-Factor, or make a Youtube Channel).

SIMON WU
Just because you dont get into the course you want
to straight out of high school, doesnt mean the end of
the world. You can always try harder at uni, and transfer
across to your favoured course. Just work hard, keep
at it and you should be able to achieve your dream
course. And also try not to get bogged down by uni
work. Its very different from high school and is more
independently driven. No one is going to tell you what
to do at uni - it is up to you to catch up on work and
keep on top of things. If you dont, exam period can
feel very stressful so make sure you always catch up on
work that you havent done.
But all in all, enjoy uni as some of the best experiences
of your life will be at uni - probably not in classes but
through the social environment.

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ERIC XU
Not all of you may go to the same destination
after high school, whether that is university or an
apprenticeship, etc. Keep in mind that you can always
reconnect with people in the past, and dont be too
shocked also when you find your future BFFLs in later
stages of your life! Anything can happen, whether you
expect it or not! Remember that youll always have
support along the way. Dont be freaked out if you
havent chosen or decided what to do in university
when youre graduating high school or filling in your
UAC. There are ALWAYS opportunities in life! The same
goes for if you didnt get the preference you wanted in
the first go there are always other ways of doing the
ideal course you want, so dont give up!
SHUBASH QUAZI
University is not high school (well duh) - you wont
be spoon-fed stuff, you wont be forced to see your
friends every day, and you wont have free transport.
In University, you will be given massive independence
of your social, financial and academic life, and this can
be both fun and scary. So for this, my advice would
be to firstly get involved in programs at university and
socialise. Dont let your study overwhelm you and make
sure you give time to your friends as theyll be going
through the same thing and the camaraderie will make
the experience so much better. Secondly, get a job, a
source of income, and really sort out your finances. Its
daunting at first, but youll get the hang of it in no time.

Finally, develop effective study patterns because youll


no longer have your teachers (or mentors like the ones
at Hero!) to tell you exactly what you need to know
to pass. Make study groups and dont fall behind and
youll be good to go!
ZAFAR RIZVI
Cultivate a habit of reading and reflecting upon them.
Id recommend Aldous Huxleys Brave New World and
The Vendor of Sweets by R.K. Narayan.
RACHEL CHEN
When I was in high school, I was fed sugar-coated words
about choosing your degree, so I gave little thought and
research into my degree, but also slacked off during the
HSC because I only aimed for what I needed. It wasnt
until the first semester of my degree had ended that
I knew I shouldve worked harder so that I had more
options and that I shouldve researched my degree more
extensively.
JAMES LEE
Have fun with the 3 month holiday! But for some, please
do not waste this time playing video games all day. You
should be thinking about the future ahead. Things like,
how you will develop more as an individual? How are
you going to improve yourself even more? Find new
hobbies during this time, do some research on articles
that help you understand yourself more. Just try to be
productive with your time. I know a few people who
became incredibly lazy during the break and had this
trait follow on with them into university and things did
not turn out well for them. I guess the message is always
try to improve yourself somehow!

NEWTON XIE
I definitely recommend actively participating in many
student activities as a friend of mine (Evan) has always
justified. University isnt just a place to study and attain
a degree; it is also widely regarded as some of the
most enjoyable years of peoples lives where many new
friendships are made. Although Im still in my first year,
I have applied for a range of extra-curricular activities.
And even though I havent been accepted into all of
those activities I have applied for, experiencing the
interviews and selection process first hand has definitely
been a positive experience and something which I can
hold onto for the rest of my life in other situations such
as job interviews.
DORIS KONG
You thought study was over eh? Haha. Nah honestly
university or any tertiary education is so much fun. You
can make your own decisions and shape your career path.
In that sense pick something that interests you so that
you can enjoy what you are doing for the rest of your life.
After you have selected your degree it may get tough
so just persevere through the tough times because Ive
seen too many people switching between degrees and
it just delays their graduation/job opportunities etc. I
understand that its hard to pick the right degree but
dont put too much pressure on yourself because things
will always work out. And DEFINITELY get involved in uni
life, join societies, go volunteering, go on exchange etc,
because these are the times when you can pick up on life
skills that you dont find in class rooms.

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GENERAL TIPS FOR YEAR 12 LEAVERS

ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE FOR


STUDENTS LEAVING HIGH SCHOOL?

WILLIAM ZHOU

PETER TRAN

Do not be afraid of failure. University is a massive


environment with so much going on and so many
opportunities. You will fail at something. Youll feel
uncomfortable, nervous, and sometimes scared shitless.
But the most important lesson Ive come to learn is
that all of that: the fear, the nerves, the oh-my-god-Iwish-I-was-dead feeling, everything, its all part of the
experience, part of the package. It means youre learning
and growing. So jump outside of your comfort zone. Try
something new that you would never have done in a
million years. And in a few years, look back at your time at
university and be amazed at all the memories

Enjoy school while youre there, youll definitely miss it


for sure.

KIRSTEN QUACH
Make sure you get nice photos at formal.
EVAN WONG
University is a place of great freedom but also a place
of great opportunity. The worse thing that you can do
with that freedom is to do nothing. I cannot stress how
beneficial socially, personally and professionally being
active in university life is. Join volunteer programs,
become the director or president of a student society
and go to student events. I hated university until
I discovered this other life. At the end of the day,
everyone is going to come out with that piece of paper.
You can either look back at university and remember
sitting in classes and doing assignments; or you
can remember all the amazing times you spent with
friends, making impactful changes and having real-life
experiences that employers use to distinguish you from
all the other thousands of graduates holding that same
piece of paper.

Be mindful of ideas imposed upon you. Instead of


accepting or rejecting, learn to choose by educating
yourself on it. That way you decide what is best for you
and your future. Have a goal, set a date and pursue it,
no matter what it is.
ANDREW WONG
Getting into uni isnt hard. Just like a lot of things in
life, if there is a will, there is a way. The beauty of
HECS and our education system is that there is always
a way in. UTS and UWS offer alternate pathways,
diplomas can get you into uni, and once youre in a
uni whether its the one that offers your desired degree
or studying the same degree but different institution,
transfers arent hard to come by if you act fast.
However, like I said earlier, love what you do. Dont
resort to being something standard simply because its
easy. Life is meant to be lived, and after university, the
workplace awaits. You dont want to spend the precious
resource that is time in a place you hate, with people
you hate, with a job you hate.

HSC CHEMISTRY
PHYSICS &
MATHEMATICS
THIS PUBLICATION MADE FOR YOU, IS JUST ONE
OF THE MANY WAYS WE CARE. WE GO BEYOND.

CONTACT US

0418 110 333


contact@heroeducation.com.au
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