I’m a parent of Year 12 student in Central Victoria. He’s doing VCE and what a time it’s been these past 18 months having to do many months of school from home. Now, it’s crunch time. Not only does my son (and the rest of Victoria’s Year 12s) have exams coming up, they need to submit their VTAC preferences by 30 September, if they’re looking to apply to a tertiary education course.
I’m a mum and a career coach, and I’ve only just tuned in to this piece of information! Whoops.
When I mentioned this to my son I could see that choosing uni courses seemed like hard work. His vibe was, ‘How am I supposed to know what I want to do next year or into the future?’ and, ‘How can I focus on that when I’m barely focusing on my school work?’
My son was overwhelmed.
I suggested we make a time to sit down together and nut some of this out. And keep the session to 30 minutes.
When my son was in Year 10 his Dad took him to a couple of university open days and they found a computer science course my son wanted to study. He’s since worked towards that goal with his subject choices. But, something has shifted and he doesn’t want to do that now. I hear the reasons. He doesn’t want to sit in an office chair on a computer all day (kind of what he does now). 🤔 He now wants to weld. Ok.
We explored career pathways for welders and how to register for an Apprenticeship and courses for a Certificate III in Engineering. Knowing how to apply but not having to commit right now, we agreed to sit with this idea and explore it more after exams.
Let’s go back to the computer science degree. We looked at what universities offer this course through the VTAC site, myfuture.edu.au and directly on university websites. We identified three courses and then my son was spent. Meeting adjourned.
What can parents and carers do to support their kids in their future career choices?
Right now there are more unknowns than usual, whilst navigating a global pandemic. I see my son wondering ‘what will it be like?’ about a a particular type of job in the future, and imagining it won’t be so great and talking himself out of this career path. I see this A LOT when I coach people of any age. It’s a bit of self-sabotage.
Hang in there parents. Here’s my tips:
- Find that balance of supporting, but not pushing. Gently guiding them.
- Ask them to imagine what the people might be like who they work with. What type of boss will they have. What work will they being doing? What hours? A job isn’t always about turning up to an office/desk and head down. There is the office culture. Many of us will be working remotely and the culture will be across the meetings and work that is done. Help your child paint a picture of what they would like to see in their world of work.
- If they get their uni application (preferences) in by the due date, they won’t have to think about it again until AFTER exam time. There’s also a late option with a fee if you miss 30 Sept.
- Often they’re still figuring it out when they’re at university, and changing courses after first semester is often an option.
- Gap years are now becoming more popular in Australia. They can enquire about deferring their course once accepted and perhaps get some work + life experience.
- Entering uni as a mature age student (21 years of age) can also be considered.
Your VCE student doesn’t HAVE to know what they want to do right now, but having a fair idea will help get the preferences in and not have to worry too much.
Handy Link: YouTube video | VTAC guide to applying for year 12 students and parents (2022)