In Summary

  • Swinburne staff and students share tips for parents who want to help their teenager transition from high school to university.

This is a tough time for Year 12 school leavers as they are bombarded by opinions and hype about university choices. Parents can be helpful in encouraging their teenager to block out the noise around them. The difficulty is to remove the pressure so that they can make a decision that’s right for them.

We’ve spoken with staff and students from Swinburne and pulled together five tips for parents who want to help their teenager transition from high school to university.

1. Stress happens

Final exams and assignments, organising VTAC preferences, anticipating ATAR results and significant social changes can leave young people feeling like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders.

Try not to use phrases such as ‘it’ll be fine’ or ‘don’t worry’. Teenagers will worry – and so will you! Instead, try to acknowledge the pressures they’re experiencing without too much judgement. Give them a little more time and space amid the rush of family life to complete their studies and university applications to the best of their ability.

2. Career guidance

When it comes to choosing or changing VTAC preferences, try not to pressure your teenager towards a particular career path. The wrong choice of degree may only lead to a wasted or frustrating start to university life.  

Instead, encourage them to sit down and make a pros and cons list, listing different courses. They have a wealth of research tools at their disposal and you have the life experience to understand what’s really important in a career. It’s a winning combination!

3. Peer pressure

The influence of peers can’t be underestimated when it comes to transitioning from school to university. For example, you may need to provide guidance to students choosing courses based on where their friends will be going.

Ask about your teenager’s friends and about their intentions for study or work so that you can help each other through the challenges that lie ahead.

4. Be open to events

Talk to your teenager about the Change of Preference Expo at Swinburne. Go along for support or offer to drive them with a few of their friends. Throughout December you can also access free one-on-one course advice at Swinburne. Into February there will be orientation activities to help them settle in on campus. Encourage them take advantage of these many opportunities for guidance and support. 

5. Look at the alternatives

Some teenagers reach the end of Year 12 feeling burnt out and not quite ready for more study. Help them research their gap year options. Deferring rather than rejecting their offer gives them the security of a year off without losing their university place. 

If your teenager wants to travel, consider international study options rather than aimless backpacking. Swinburne offers a comprehensive international study program that lets students acquire valuable language and life skills in a new environment. This overseas study is credited towards their degree, which means they can have an adventure without adding to the time it takes to get started in a career.

Swinburne is ranked one of Melbourne’s top universities and among the top 400 universities in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities. The Good Universities Guide 2015 gives Swinburne a five-star rating for overall graduate satisfaction and the university has consistently been recognised for producing graduates who are ready for employment.

These accolades are derived from a belief that Swinburne’s role is to provide clarity and confidence for students, ensuring the adventure is worth it.