A final exam checklist: how you can help your teen

Smiling mother and teen daughter at desk looking at laptop computer.

It’s almost THAT time – hard to believe, we know. But after more than a decade of homework, assignments, assessments and exams, the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) crunch time looms – for your teen and for you. Along their schooling journey you’ve been there to help, support and encourage. You’ve endured countless parent teacher interviews and struggled your way through too many school projects to even remember.

But, on the eve of their most important high school moment, you know there’s still more to do – and so do we at Charles Sturt University.

The question is, how can you best help your teen tackle their exams? And – just as important – how can you ensure they are on track to continue their education journey afterwards?

Helping teens bring their A-game to their exams

At Charles Sturt we have experience with study and exams. And we recognise how important it is for you as a parent/carer to get your child in the best possible shape for the challenges of the upcoming months. So, we’ve written a guide (there are two versions, one for the HSC and one for the VCE). It’s full of valuable information on how your child can get organised, healthy and motivated. Because to do their best – be their best – teens have to be happy and focused.

Flicking through this guide – and getting your teen too as well – is a good first step to successfully navigate the upcoming months. It’s our way of helping you to help them, with all the things they need to get set up for exam success.

  • Planning. How to make a plan which includes time for study, socialising, exercise and sleep.
  • Study zones. Set up an effective work area, but also mix it up.
  • Mental and physical health. Ideas on how to be in tip-top shape.
  • Study methods. What’s effective and what’s new.
  • Tips. What the experts recommend.
  • Acing exams. The right routine.

What’s next? Getting ready for uni!

Once your teen has explored the ideas and information in our guide you can be confident they have the tools to make the most of their exam experience. And while they’re concentrating on study notes and syllabus points you can turn your attention to ensuring all the boxes have been ticked for a successful transition into uni – and help set them up for the future.

But sometimes, understanding the ins and outs of the uni application process (what has to be done and by when) can be just as daunting as sitting an exam! So we’ve done the hard work for you and made note of the major things that need to be ticked off – and by when.

Take time out to chat

While some kids seem to know exactly what they want to do when school finishes, many are unsure and find themselves wavering – even as they write their last word in their last exam.

That’s why it’s valuable to open the channels of communication as soon as you can and start discussions about what lies ahead. What are their strengths? What do they love to do? Are their career dreams and aspirations still relevant? But remember, at this time it can often be valuable to listen more than you speak – just continue to guide the chat and help them clarify their thoughts.

When? No time like the present!

Do some quick course research

Students will have already started to explore the range of university courses available, trying to determine which career area suits them, but here’s a tip: sometimes parents find courses that teens haven’t even considered. After all, you know your child better than anyone.

At Charles Sturt we offer more than 350 courses across 19 different career areas.

Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Allied Health and Pharmacy

Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Business

Communication and Creative Industries

Engineering

Environmental Science and Outdoor Recreation

Exercise and Sports Sciences

Humanities, Social Work and Human Services

Information and Library Studies

Information Technology, Computing and Mathematics

Medical Science and Dentistry

Medicine

Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health

Policing, Law, Security, Customs and Emergency Management

Psychology

Science

Teaching and Education

Theology and Islamic Studies

Take a few minutes to look through our website and then sit down with your teen to discuss what courses they’re contemplating. Now is the time to cast the net wide and consider every possibility.

And remember, even if they’ve chosen a course it’s always good to have a Plan B. Try and encourage your teen to have a few different course options just as a backup.

When? Grab a coffee and have a browse.

Parent information evenings

One of the best ways to get in the know, get organised and ensure your child doesn’t miss any important opportunities or dates is to get along to a Charles Sturt University parent information evening.

These free sessions are the perfect chance to get all your questions answered. From simplifying the application process to discussing accommodation options and scholarships – we cover it all.

And this year we’ll explain the Charles Sturt Advantage – an early entry program that helps students get where they want to go, just by being themselves. It’s a new way of applying to study with us that looks at a student’s special soft skills – things that might not always be reflected in academic results – but they’re skills that will help them excel in the working world.

We’ll also explain all about how to apply, whether through UAC or VTAC – or directly to us.

When? You can register now for these free parent information evenings. Each evening runs from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.
  • Orange campus| Monday 22 July
  • Bathurst campus | Tuesday 23 July
  • Wagga Wagga campus | Wednesday 24 July
  • Albury-Wodonga campus | Thursday 25 July
  • Port Macquarie campus | Monday 29 July

Open Days

This year Charles Sturt will open our campus doors so you and your teen can drop by and discover everything we have to offer. Come see for yourself what we’re all about at our Open Days.

  • Take a campus tour.
  • Check out our state-of-the-art facilities.
  • Get detailed info about courses.
  • Chat to current students.
  • Meet our teaching staff.
  • Get information on our clubs, societies.
  • Free stuff – food, competitions, giveaways.
When? Learn more about our Open Days.
  • Bathurst campus | Sunday 4 August
  • Wagga Wagga campus | Sunday 11 August
  • Albury-Wodonga campus | Sunday 18 August
  • Port Macquarie campus | Sunday 25 August
  • Dubbo campus | Friday 30 August
  • Orange campus | Friday 6 September

Show me the money!

Heading off to uni is the next big adventure your child will take and like all adventures it’s best to be prepared – especially when it comes to matters of finance.

There are two simple questions to ask: What will they need and how will they pay for it?

For example: Accommodation or rent; food; gas and electricity; phone and internet; furniture and white goods; public transport or a car; computer and printer; stationery supplies; course related equipment; cost of doing pracs and moving expenses.

If your teen is heading away from home you may consider visiting Centrelink and discussing whether they can assist.

It’s a great idea to also ensure your child has an up-to-date résumé – so they are ready to apply for part-time jobs as soon as they know where they’ll be studying.

Lastly, check out the range of university scholarships available. Each year, Charles Sturt awards more than $3 million in scholarships and grants. And it’s important to know that scholarships are awarded for a range of reasons – not just academic achievement.

Everyone loves making a list (evens if it’s a financial one), so start jotting down potential costs. Then pencil in time for you and your teen to visit Centrelink and have a chat about part-time work options and résumés.

When? Check your calendar now and get organised!

Understanding the university admissions process

What exactly is a university admission centre, you ask? Well, it’s like a one-stop shop for your child’s university application which allows your child to:

  • apply for university courses
  • list their preferences when it comes to different courses
  • apply for different offer rounds
  • apply for assistance and access schemes.

In NSW it is called the University Admission Centre (UAC). For students in Victoria who want to study on our Albury-Wodonga campus, the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) is the place to go.

UAC has a list of key dates (as does VTAC) for all the important milestones including how and when you need to apply for each round of university offers, and they also have a list of frequently asked questions – with the answers, too. (It’s good to note that UAC are doing things a little differently in 2019, with university offers commencing earlier, beginning in April instead of September.)

When it comes to your teen changing their preferences for which uni course they want to pursue UAC and VTAC have the details. But another option (if you prefer a face-to-face explanation) is to meet with your child’s careers adviser who should be able to guide you through the process and timeline for changing university course preferences.

A brief rundown.

  • Undergraduate applications can have up to five course preferences (eight for VTAC).
  • Some courses have early closing dates (so best check).
  • The first course listed should be the one your teen is most keen on studying.
  • Course preferences can be added, deleted, or changed before the round deadline (but students will have to log in to do it).
  • They’ll need their UAC/VTAC application number and PIN. Ask your teen what these are and write these down somewhere very safe!
When to start? Now! Get your HSC and VCE guides.