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10 steps to VCE and VTAC success

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Today is the day we look forward to the future and the year 2013. This time of year is particularly difficult because the SAC's are piling up and the end of year VCE exams are coming into sharp focus...but it also a great time to draw strength and greater motivation for what you want to do after your VCE.

Will next year bring university, an apprenticeship or employment?

Whatever the future holds for you, this article is not meant to freak you out but help you get more focused for exams and also start to get the ball rolling for 2013. This process should not be done alone. You'll want to talk to your careers counselor at school, other teachers, parents and even visit the VTAC website for more information. It's important to be well informed so you are not in over your head.

So grab a drink, sit down and let's do some serious thinking about your future in 2013.

The reason I decided to put this document together is because of the multitude of final year students who approach me and ask for information about career selection, what to do and when. This process can be a little intimidating so just follow each of the steps and get more information so you can make the right choices about your future.

Step # 1: FOCUS on the following questions.

Ask yourself the following questions...

1. If money was not an issue...what dream career would I select and why?

2. What things am I really passionate in or have a great interest in?

3. What areas of study am I really good at?

Now don't expect a *magical* answer to appear right in front of your eyes. This process takes time so spend some quality, quiet time alone and keep an open mind when asking yourself these questions.

NB: Time spent here on this answer may literally change your future so spend some serious time on these questions.

Step # 2: Look yourself in the eye and be brutally honest about your grades.

Evaluate the level of success that you have achieved this year.

Have you met your expectations? Or have you really struggled this year to achieve the grades you had hoped?

Take this assessment on face value for 2 reasons...

# 1: An ATAR score is not always the determinant of whether you get into a course or not. (Only about 50% of courses use the ATAR score as the sole determinant of university selection).

# 2: There is still a significant opportunity to improve greatly on the marks that you have achieved this year.

Step # 3: See your careers counsellor

Be armed with the answers to Step 1 & 2 and ask for direction. He/she will be able to point you in the right direction for more information about the 'where to from here' scenario.

They will be able to provide you with some of the additional information about university or tafe open days, special requirements and more.

* HIGHLY RECOMMENDED *

Step # 4: Borrow / buy / download the latest VTAC Guide

This is really important because different students will have different requirements for admission and you don't want to make a mistake!

Step # 5: Research thoroughly...after all, it's your future.

3 good sources of information are People, Places and Publications.

For more information on the education providers.

5.1: Read up on each of the courses you are interested in the VTAC guide or search the Course Search database on the VTAC website. Find out ALL the information on the available courses (even ones that are interstate...don't eliminate any options yet. Visit the Uni and TAFE websites for more information.

5.2: Attend any remaining open days in August/September (with your parents for support) for each of the various institutions and ask LOTS of questions...remember this is your future so be informed. Go here for a comprehensive list of open day locations and details.

5.3: Where possible talk to students completing the courses (sometimes they are involved during the open days), course graduates, people who are in the workforce with this particular career or even employers of these graduates to gauge their interest, enjoyment, job prospects and more.

5.4: Think about the location, travel time, accessibility of public transport, and indeed if you are prepared to travel to this institution. You may even need to move away from home...which has its own pro's & con's.

5.5: Determine if the courses are full fee paying or are a commonwealth supported place & what are the associated costs, if any.

5.6: Check for new and cancelled courses - many people don't and might miss out on finding a course that suits their particular needs or conversely wastes a VTAC selection.

Step # 6: Select up to 12 courses you may be interested in.

The guide for doing this is to select the very best case scenario course and then work backwards. You should always have a safety net of some lower score courses as the very worse case scenario.

Check the course codes. The final digit of the course code indicates the fee type. Remember you may select as few as 1 course but up to a maximum of 12 courses. Check all the course types available and the restrictions, if any (ie type 1 = CSP courses, type 2 = domestic fee paying courses, type 3 = IB students and International students). Check the VTAC guide or website for more details.

List these courses in order you most want to get them, not the order that you think they may be offered, and the order with which you would most likely want to complete. (Refer back to your research for assistance here!)
Step # 7: Go back to your careers counsellor and check the selections, pre-requisites, extra requirement forms and paper-work.

Each course is different and your application will not be reviewed if you do not submit this extra information. Some courses have compulsory attendance sessions - be thorough as some of these sessions may fall in the holiday period, when you are planning on being away. Seeing the counsellor is just a safety measure to double-check what you have done and where to from here. (After all...it is your future!)

Step # 8: Enter your selections with VTAC before 5pm on Friday 28th September.

Note that you can go through a demonstration that shows you how to enter in your preferences here.

Step # 9: Get real and get visual with your future

During my VCE I made sure that I posted my goals just above eye-level, above my desk. As I progressed throughout the year (and after the August Open Days) I was able to determine what course would be my number 1 preference.

I collected brochures, course outlines, anything that I could find which gave me a powerful visual image of not only what I wanted to study but where. This made my goal seem real...in essence that I was already achieving my goal and it certainly helped me achieve my goal of getting my desired ATAR score and achieving my number 1 VTAC preference.

Step # 10: Re-read the VTAC guide for 2013 and check you have followed all the steps to accept university placements.

Phew...if you follow all the above steps you should hit the mark with your VCE and VTAC success. Just follow the simple steps outlined today.

Now is the time to act on your future...

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Until next time...

Heath

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