Looking at University Alternatives (The High School Student Guide)


For most students, after finishing high school the natural next step is to apply to a university and then go directly to undertaking an undergraduate degree. However, there are many students who do not go directly to university, either because they have not been able to achieve the grades that they wanted or because they simply want to take a break before continuing their studies. There are many alternatives to university that can be explored with each option providing a new and unique experience, as well as in many cases bolstering the chances of getting into university the following year. Let’s look at some of the most common choices which students can opt for instead of directly heading to university after high school.

Traveling Around the World

Traveling is the most common choice which students look to take if they have decided against going straight to university. The general thinking behind this choice is that once you have finished university you are more likely to head straight into a career, which may not afford you the time to go on the long trip you have dreamed of. For this reason, many prefer to take a year out and hit the road instead of going straight to university. Whilst this does offer excellent life experiences, it is something which can be a great drain on your finances, and will not enhance your chances of getting into university when you return. Therefore many students also look at the opportunity to travel between the end of high school and university, or even during university breaks as there is usually a sufficient amount of time available then.

Taking on a Job

Another option which people look at is taking on a job. This is usually the case especially if students have found that they didn’t get the scores they required and need to work out next steps before reapplying. While taking the year off to work students are not only able to save up a large amount of money in the bank, but if you get a job, in the industry you want to get a degree in, it can even offer an opportunity for credit towards your degree. Another option is to work while studying a course such as a diploma or certificate to allow for you to reapply for university the following year.

Consider Studying a TAFE Course

TAFE courses are an option for those who don’t want to go directly to university following high school, and as adhered to previously, they can significantly increase a student’s chances of getting into university the following year. These vocational courses are used by many as a stepping stone between high school and university, especially for those who are looking at studying a course which can be considered ‘niche’. The acronym TAFE stands for technical and further education and they are courses which focus on areas such as business, finance, tourism, engineering, construction, arts and information technology, as well as other areas not covered by universities such as studies around agriculture, bakery or hairdressing. In many cases certain TAFEs are affiliated with particular universities, so keep this in mind when choosing which TAFE to attend.

If you are looking at taking a year out following high school then it is important that you use the time well, so that you will be able to seamlessly re-enter studying once the year is over or set yourself up for a bright future in a new field. Whatever your goal, be sure to plan ahead to give yourself the best chance to succeed.