Tackling a Bachelors Degree and pledging 3 or 4 years of your life to the unknown is a daunting decision to make.
36+ months seems an incomprehensible amount of time to sacrifice to a commitment that you are oh-so-not-so-sure-about!
Perhaps this fear is based on
- not knowing what degree you want to do,
- Whether University and you will get along like:
- peas & ham (cool!), or
- chalk & cheese (blah!)
After all, how do you KNOW if you will ENJOY University if you have never tried it before?
You might be firing questions at yourself like:
- Will I like the study style? (I hear that it is entirely different to VCE)
- Will I cope with being a self-regulator of my learning? (I hear that lecturers won’t chase me for my work)
Diploma to the rescue…
Many universities understand your dilemma and are keen to help you out. Some offer one year diplomas—which allows you to figure out the answer to the above questions.
This option (or pathway) gives you ten months to dip your toes into the tertiary-learning-style-pond and decide if you like it (or not!)
The good news is that many diplomas are the equivalent of the first year of a bachelor’s degree (depending on your results of course) so:
- If you decide that you DO like University, then you can continue straight into the second year of your degree (bonus!)
- If you decide that University is NOT for you, well, you still walk away with a diploma (score!).
OK, sounds good, but OBVIOUSLY there is more to it – and you will have to don your ‘research-spectacles’ to see if there is a diploma that fits your interests.
Here are some options for you to explore!
- Diploma in General Studies—Dookie—University of Melbourne
- Diploma of Arts—LaTrobe – hint: scroll to bottom of the page
These are only two of many options available. Most diplomas are ‘streamed’ into particular degrees.
Ask the question
When facing your university representatives (at Open Days or Career Expos), you should ask the question “is there a diploma pathway into this degree?” A perfectly simple question, which will supply a quick answer to help you with your battle plans!
Another awesome option, which removes the do-I-need-to-decide-straight-away dilemma, is to enrol in one or two subjects from a degree in which you are interested.
Is this possible? Tots!
- If you like it, then you can enrol in more subjects and continue your bachelor degree journey
- If you don’t like it, well, you proved yourself right about Uni vs. You –smart!.
Here is an example of a single subject option at Melbourne University.
What is a MOOC?
A MOOC is a Massive Open Online Course, which is a free on-line course available to anyone that wants to take the course. Wow!
To find out more about MOOC’s (and uni’s who offer them) go to Hobsons Course Finder—a fabulous and informative website for all things Heebeejeebee!
The next step up from a Diploma is an Associate Degree.
An Associate Degree is squished in-between a diploma (level 5) and a degree (level 7). The table found here shows the levels quite nicely.
Studying for an Associate Degree takes two years, a bit of a commitment, but for some of you this might be the perfect compromise….
"...to a degree, or not to a degree”?
The two years are spent building employability skills with a big focus on hands-on-practical-real-life-problem-solving-outcomes. It is a qualification in itself, and students can venture forth into the world of work straight after, or make the decision to use their credits towards a full degree.
Associate degrees are not found in all disciplines. Here are some examples of associate degrees:
- Deakin: Associate Degree of Arts or Associate Degree of Education
- Swinburne: Associate Degrees to Bachelor (includes Business, Engineering, Health & ICT)
Your Local Learning Centre and TAFE may have some viable diplomas and associate degrees on offer. Many learning centres and TAFEs partner with a University (or two) to enable students to study higher level qualifications locally.
How do you find out what is available in your town/area? Walk right into the Local Learning Centre (and TAFE) and ask the question/s:
- “do you have any diploma courses?”,
- “what are they?” and
- “what pathways do you offer into Bachelor Degrees (or the Associate Degree)”?
To locate your nearest Local Learning Centre I suggest a quick Google. (Use the words “Learning Centre” + the name of your nearest largest town). You can do a similar thing for your TAFE search.
Yes, this too is a study option. But before diving head first into an online course (particularly if you have never heard of the provider before), check the suppliers ’street creds’ via ACPET—my article here describes ACPET nicely.
Lastly, find a friend to push you along, if you do your prelim research (following suggestions here) you can then stress less & enjoy the journey!