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Test-Drive Your Dream Career: College & University Intro Courses

Test-Drive Your Dream Career: College & University Intro Courses

If you're in high school and the big question of "What am I going to do with my life?" is looming over you, don't sweat it. One excellent way to explore your interests is by dipping your toes into college or university introductory courses. Whether you're in America or Australia, you've got options!

What's The Deal?

Introductory courses at colleges and universities let you explore specific career fields. These courses often go beyond theory, diving into hands-on learning and giving you a sneak peek into the professional world. Sounds intriguing, right?

Why Should You Care?

Get a Feel for Tertiary Education

You'll get to experience what tertiary (that's college-level) education is like, which can help you decide if it's something you're into.

Skill Up

These courses are a hotbed for gaining specific skills and knowledge you might not get in high school.

Network Like a Boss

You'll be in an environment where you can meet like-minded folks. Plus, educators can give you the inside scoop on what it takes to succeed in the field.

Access Cool Stuff

Colleges and universities often have specialized resources, like labs or studios, that give you a real sense of the work environment.

Time Commitment

Be ready to invest some serious time, though. Most courses require a commitment for a full term or semester, which means you'll have weekly classes and study time to plan for.

A Word on Costs

While some courses might be free or low-cost, others could have a price tag. So, check out scholarship options or look for courses that fit your budget.

Take the Plunge

So, if you're pondering about your future, enrolling in a college or university introductory course could be the key to unlock your passion. You never know, you might just stumble upon the career you'll love for the rest of your life.

Advice for Australian High School Students 

Most universities offer a program - Google "high school student study at [university name] to find a link to more information. 

The University of Melbourne Extension Program

The University of Melbourne Extension Programis for high-achieving students looking to further their academic potential. It's free to join and through the program you'll be able to study university subjects alongside your final year of high school.

Headstart at USC

If you're around the Fraser Coast, Gympie, Caboolture, or the Sunshine Coast, check out Headstart at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC). This transition program lets you pick from over 80 first-year uni subjects. Not only will you earn credits towards your degree if you end up at USC, but you'll also save some money because these programs are subsidised.

USQ's Head Start

For the high-achievers in Years 10, 11, or 12, the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) offers free courses to help you get ahead. You'll get university credits and learn study skills you'll need for uni life.


This program at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is perfect for Year 11 and 12 students looking to get a jumpstart on undergrad courses. It's an opportunity to study units in a range of areas.

GUESTS at Griffith

If you're doing well in all your subjects and meeting some other criteria, you can apply for the Griffith University Early Start to Tertiary Studies (GUESTS) program. The best part? Most of the coursework can be done at your high school or online.

ACU's Uni Step-Up

The Australian Catholic University offers Uni Step-Up for students in Years 11 and 12. If you end up attending ACU, you'll get credit for the courses you've completed.


CQU’s Start Uni Now (SUN)

For those in Years 10, 11, and 12, CQUniversity offers the SUN program. You can study a range of units either on-campus or online and even get direct entry into an undergrad degree at CQUniversity.

UQ’s Enhanced Studies Program

The University of Queensland (UQ) offers 40 courses where you can extend your knowledge, gain an adjustment point on your UQ entrance ranking, and even get credit for a future course at UQ.

Keep An Eye on Deadlines

Each program has its application dates, so make sure to check their websites for the most current info.

These programs are designed to make your transition from high school to uni smoother while letting you test the waters in a field you're interested in.

Impact on ATAR

In many Australian university programs designed for high school students, completing a university unit successfully could lead to academic credits that may contribute to your ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank). However, the impact on the ATAR can vary depending on the program and the university. Some programs offer a more direct impact by contributing points or adjustment factors to your ATAR score, making you more competitive when applying for university courses after completing high school.

Other programs might not directly influence the ATAR but could give you credits towards your first year at the university, easing your transition and reducing your future course load. This won't boost your ATAR but it provides a head start on your university journey.

Always check the specifics with the program you're interested in, as the benefits can differ greatly.

More Resources

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Careers That Matter provides online programs to teenagers across the globe. The organisation is based in Melbourne Australia. We have students from across Australia including Sydney, NSW 2000, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Brisbane, QLD 4000, Perth, WA 6000, Adelaide, SA 5000, Hobart, TAS 7000, Canberra, ACT 2600, Darwin, NT 0800. We also take students from The United Kingdom including London, Europe, and the United States including New York , Canada, New Zealand including Auckkland and Wellington, and Asia including Singapore and Malaysia.