In 2015, I have the opportunity to be apart of the START QUT program, which basically means I’m in University a year early… but also doing grade 12 at the same time. This has proved to be pretty challenging in quite a few ways, however it’s also been extremely rewarding for me. So I decided why not share my experience with the program and start with a list of Pros and Cons!Pro:
You get to miss out on a bit of school! Hooray for freedom and no maths or science lessons that day! Enjoy the fresh smell of freedom as you leave school and the homework behind, and go to uni. Yeah!
You miss school work… more than you realise. Soon the homework you were so excited about not doing becomes very important. All the things you miss getting taught in class confuse you when you try and learn them. Then you have assignments due… and you have enrolled in university classes for two afternoons a week thinking “I won’t miss much school this way!” but soon you’ll realise how valuable an afternoon is when you have an assignment due the next day. I learned this lesson very quickly in my first few weeks as a START Student. So don’t make the same mistake! Try and get both your lecture and your tutorial/workshop on the same day if you’re considering the START student life.
You get to experience what university is all about earlier than most of your peers. This is amazing, because you can reassure them all that uni lectures and tutorials are much more relaxed than high school classes. You can also give them a heads up about more mature aged students. This was one of the things I wasn’t expecting when I turned up to my first lecture. There is such a diverse range of people that study, not just people straight out of high school!
You might find out that what you want to study isn’t for you… Which will suck for a little bit because you won’t know what direction to take and whether or not university is for you. But this is one of the best things about the START program! You get the chance to try out what you’re interested in, and see if it’s really for you!
Each START unit you complete (and pass!) will give you one bonus entry rank (part of an OP). This might not seem like much, but if you get to do two semesters of START QUT, that’s two bonus ranks, which could place you in that magical 1-5 OP range, or may bump you into your dream course. DISCLAIMER: if you aren’t the best at organizing things, or you get stressed out easily, doing two semesters of START QUT on top of grade 12 will get busy. So if you think it’s an easy OP point, it isn’t that easy! I’ve just completed my first semester, and it always sits in the back of my mind that I have this, this and this to do for uni. So when you commit to this, be aware you’ll need to organise your week!
There you have them. Those are the big pros and cons to the START QUT program! There’s probably a few more, but these are just from my personal experiences, and I’m sure they relate to more than just me. So if you think you’re doing pretty well in grade 11, make sure you apply for the program for 2016!