PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with CQUniversity Australia to help you be what you want to be.

Year 12 is the most confusing year of high school because it’s literally built on uncertainty.

You’re unsure whether your school friendships will hold up whilst balancing the whole “young adult” life thing after grad, parental expectations become more intense and, of course, choosing what to wear to formal is crucial. Combining all of this with the unpredictability of COVID-19, 2020’s school-leavers do have it pretty rough.

I thought I had it bad undertaking the HSC in the same year Zayn left One Direction. I’m still astonished no bonus points were awarded for that trauma, but anyway.

Even though it is all ~a lot~ to take in, there is a light at the end of the tunnel – life might never return to the way it was, but at the end of this year, 2020’s TikTok-making high school graduates will be set free into the wild to change the world with their ideas and actions.

One of the big decisions made during Year 12 is undeniably picking which route of tertiary education to take (if any at all). Because the pandemic has shifted so many aspects of life, you might be wondering what the heck the uni experience would actually be like next year.

So, to clear up the many queries about post-Rona uni we asked Professor Nick Klomp, Vice-Chancellor of CQUniversity to give us some insight into how to prep for your tertiary studies in a rapidly changing world.

Since chatting with him, we’re feeling pretty positive about the future – he assured us that because the pandemic has forced innovation, students can expect a more flexible, open, and diverse range of study options, for you to truly make the most of whatever your path is.

What can future students expect uni to look like in 2021, in a post-COVID world?

With our world and job market constantly changing, not everyone is going to fit the ‘graduate high school, uni for 3 years, job, die’ paradigm that we’re pretty much sold since primary school. Since the impacts of COVID-19 will continue to reverberate globally, unis are adapting to the diverse needs students will require.

“In the coming years, you’ll notice increased opportunity and flexibility in the way you study and learn,” explained Klomp.

Students will certainly be spoilt for choice, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing universities to change the way they operate.

“Of course, we’ll see the return of face-to-face classes, but you can absolutely expect online learning and support to be a larger part of your study than it has ever been before,” said Klomp. 

It can be pretty daunting to think about what career you see yourself entering whilst still in high school – but taking some time out to suss the industries you’re interested in and the skills needed to thrive within them will help you take initial steps in carving out a study pathway to get there.

“You can also expect the job market to be more competitive than ever before. That’s why there has never been a more important time for soon-to-be high school graduates to consider their post-schooling study options,” Klomp said. 

“Studying a university degree or TAFE qualification will set you up with the skills and competitive edge you will need to set you apart in a globally competitive workforce that has had to completely reinvent itself.”

How can current Year 12 students best prepare for uni study in 2021? 

We know whilst in high school, the idea of 12pm start times, frequenting the pub between classes and of course making new friends makes uni sound like a total stress-free paradise. However, in reality, there is a whole bunch of learning that needs to be done – which is exciting, because ultimately that’s what will propel you towards your career goals.

Klomp recommends that Year 12 students take the time this year to really think about which uni will cater to their needs best when applying, to ensure you can make the most of your studies.

“Choose a uni that will support you – 2020 is taking its toll on everyone, and if Year 12s’ confidence is affected, it’s no wonder,” Klomp stressed.

“The prospect of starting uni might feel overwhelming or too hard, or perhaps out of reach if you’ve fallen behind in your studies due to disruption, but a supportive uni will help you get through it.”

If you’re the chronically over-prepared type, he also suggested taking a look into which unis are offering early entry or acceptance, so you can spend the latter half of 2020 in total peace of mind.

“CQUniversity offers programs where you can start TAFE or uni while you’re still in high school, and even has a Principal’s Recommendation Scheme, which can get you guaranteed entry into many uni courses right now. 

“Most importantly, stay on track and keep your eyes on the prize – there’s a bright future out there waiting for you!”

How can students stay updated on different entry pathways and options for 2021? 

There are so many things up in the air right now. But it’s best to not put your head in the sand when it comes to keeping up to date with the all the info universities you’re interested in are providing, to help inform your decisions.

If you’re able to stay on top of whether Schoolies is going ahead, please, get your head around what applying for uni entails — it will help you way more in the long run.

Things are running differently this year (as you’re aware), so heaps of unis are partaking in virtual open days, webinars and online chat sessions to help future students make decisions about their next steps – (hot tip – even signing up for their newsletters is an easy way to stay in the know.)

“No one student, or their situation, is the same – and that’s why we have tonnes of different pathways and support programs to help students find the right path for them,” Klomp explained. 

“For example, our Year 12 Uni Toolkit allows you to book a conversation and talk to someone who has walked in your shoes before, get personalised career advice, learn about the various entry and alternative pathways available to you and explore the plethora of opportunities that await you in your post-school journey.”

What have been some of the widespread challenges students can expect to face in transitioning from high school to uni in a post-COVID-19 world? 

The fact you’re graduating in one of the weirdest years in history is a pretty gigantic achievement – there are so many challenges that have arisen which didn’t have immediate solutions that you’ve figured out along the way. Yes, pats on the back all round.

Klomp noted that uni is all about being self-motivated – if you’ve managed to stay on top of your studies this year, taking that energy into 2021 is going to help you absolutely crush whatever course you pick.

He also noted that ensuring students take care of themselves this year is imperative to helping them prepare for tertiary education in the future. At the end of the day, keeping on top of your mental and physical health this year is the utmost priority amidst everything.

“The life of a uni student is already challenging – add in a global pandemic on top of that, and our students are faced with tests that no student has ever faced before”, Klomp stressed. 

“This can naturally have a huge impact on health and wellbeing, which is why our priority focus from the get-go has been on continuing to provide our exceptional student support services, despite the physical distance.”

So, if you’re in year 12, take care of yourself and suss out the wide world of study options available at CQUniversity to kickstart your future.