Selecting which university to study with is a big decision. At Charles Sturt University, we’ve put together a dream team of prospective student advisers to guide you on this journey. As their title suggests, their role is to provide advice about all aspects of life at Charles Sturt – and help you achieve your dreams. Keep an eye on Insight over the coming weeks as we introduce you to our dream team.
Introducing Hilary Matchett
(Prospective Student Adviser)
We sat down with Hilary Matchett, Prospective Student Adviser at Charles Sturt University, for a quick catch up. As a Charles Sturt grad herself, Hilary can tell you everything you need to know about #unilife.
1. Tell us about your role .
As a prospective student adviser (PSA), I assist students who are considering study with us, both school leaver and non-school leaver as well as on-campus and online students, with their course enquiries and admission requirements.
2. What does a typical day look like for a prospective student adviser?
No two days are the same! You could have walk-in appointments, be running events, attending career expos with up to 20,000 students or working with local TAFEs to advise their graduating students. We spend a lot of time on the road, travelling between campuses and different schools in our regions (and therefore consuming a lot of McDonald’s coffee!). But getting positive feedback from students when they have accepted their offer or enrolled makes the time on the road and being on your feet all day worth it!
3. What’s the best part of your job?
A big part of my role is also working with prospective elite athletes with their course enquiries. As a sports lover myself, it’s a part of my role which I thoroughly enjoy! During 2017, I had the amazing opportunity to advise five Sydney Swans players, four dragon boaters, two athletes living abroad and even a martial arts champion (among many others!) Working with athletes brings you a diverse range of future students and enquiries on a daily basis. I find it fascinating how each of these athletes got into their chosen sport and how their sporting career has influenced their decision as to what they want to study at university.
4. If you went back to study, which degree would you pick and why?
If I were to go back to university, I think I would either study agricultural business management or secondary teaching. I am a country girl originally and grew up on a mixed-enterprise farm, so I think it would be great to work in an industry which contributes so much to the Australian economy. Working with high school students and having to present in front of groups of them so regularly keeps teaching in the back of my mind as a potential career path later on down the track. Mind you, I loved what I studied at university (public relations), which has provided me with a good set of skills applicable to a number of different industries, so no regrets!
5. What has been your most memorable experience at Charles Sturt?
Definitely organising, along with the PSA team, the Leadership Master Class on Wagga Wagga Campus in December 2016 and as part of that event, running a guest speaker panel with four incredible and inspirational speakers. It was great to give regional students the opportunity to listen to some fantastic speakers – something they might not get the chance to do regularly – and be inspired by their stories of how they have made serious contributions to their chosen field.
6. Describe Charles Sturt University in three words.
Community, social and spirited.
7. What is the best thing about studying with us?
The hands-on nature of all the degrees. From personal experience, being a communication alumna myself, your degree isn’t just filled with essays and exams; you get to do practical work like events, client briefs and presentations. And it all starts in your first year, which means you are building up your skills, even before you do any work experience. I definitely noticed the difference in my skills and ability to grasp different concepts, to those of my friends who went to universities that were only focused on the theoretical components of the degrees as opposed to the practical skills. I always encourage students to ask university representatives about the level of practical experience they will gain as part of the degree, and I think it’s something which makes Charles Sturt such a fantastic and unique place to study.
8. What sets us apart from other unis?
The student community. There’s a lot of students who have had to move out of home to come to uni, so friendships between our students are really strong and the support they provide as a community is inspiring to watch. Through the various social events, clubs and societies, I think we really have mastered the sense of community and ‘looking out for your fellow student’. Living on campus definitely helps with that; you have your friends constantly around you and there is always something happening whether it be sport, Residence Cup or a fundraising barbecue. Every student seems to get involved in at least one social club or sporting team, and no matter what your interests are, I can guarantee you will meet and find friends who have very similar interests to you. Everyone looks out for everyone too. Some of your best friends in the future will be the ones you lived with on campus.
9. What’s the most common question asked by future students? And how do you respond?
Probably the most common questions I get asked by future students are: ‘How do I get into the course?’ or ‘Will I be able to get into this course?’ One of the biggest concerns for students, both school leaver and non-school leaver, is whether or not they will make the cut, whether it be through their ATAR, TAFE studies or work experience for postgraduate study. While it’s an important part of our role to instil the confidence in people to chase their dreams, the expertise people rely on is our ability to advise whether a course will line up with where the student wants to be career-wise.
10. What advice do you have for anyone thinking about uni?
Just get in there and do it. Don’t be afraid of the fact that you might have to move out of home for the first time or you might not know anyone – that’s the beauty of the Charles Sturt experience! If you get involved in clubs, social committees or sporting teams, you will meet so many amazing people and begin to question what you were worrying about in the first place. Don’t worry about feeling nervous about starting university; most people are feeling the exact same way. I was so nervous coming on to campus for the first day of Orientation! What you put into university is what you are going to get out of it. It’s so much more than just going to class, so don’t make your experience boring – make it exciting! It’s pretty easy to do this at Charles Sturt because the regional campuses are so full of life and provide plenty of Insta-worthy moments that will make your friends who went elsewhere wish they were with you!
Talk turkey with a Prospective Student Adviser
Want to chat with Hilary or one of our other Prospective Student Advisers about your study options? Too easy! You can book a one-on-one appointment via phone, Skype or in person at the campus of your choice.