Each year Alice Smith Students progress to Universities and Colleges around the world. They are able to do this with the support and guidance from our dedicated Higher Educated Counselling team. In this new blog series our Alumni reflect on their experience of applying and studying in countries around the world. First to share their experiences are Alan, Maddison and Nikita.
Alan Flindell, KLASS of 2014
Degree: Bachelor of The Arts (Audio Production)
University: The Australian College of the Arts (a.k.a Collarts), Melbourne
Current Occupation: Events/Audio Visual Technician at Museums Victoria, Freelance Audio Engineer/Record Producer
Maddison Quarm, KLASS of 2018
Degree: Bachelor of Design (Architecture & Graphic Design)
University: The University of Melbourne
and Nikita Rambhatla, KLASS of 2018
Degree: Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (Honours)
University: University of New South Wales, Australia
When did you need to apply?
Alan: Around late August to early September, as unis start in February/March in Australia. I started applying after heading to Melbourne for a week to take some University tours. I looked at 3 different Universities in Melbourne: Box Hill Institute, RMIT & Collarts.
Maddison: I didn’t apply until after receiving my results (you don’t have to until November) and then applied online through VTAC where they handle all your documentation. You apply to all Australian universities through VTAC with your top preferences for universities/ courses. They transfer your A Level results into ATAR points. My top preference was The University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Design and I was admitted. I choose this course because I wanted to major in Graphic Design and Architecture. I received my acceptance in January to then start my studies in March (beginning of school year).
Nikita: Each state has their own application process (and you)can apply up to 5-6 courses for each state.I also applied for a scholarship, which required a lot of writing
Make sure you request your documentation from the HE team before you apply!
What's life like as a university student?
Alan: Classes are run throughout the day at different times, so some can be in the morning and some can be at 8pm at night. So I had some time to fill during some days. There were a lot of workshops, both in and out of class time, with industry professionals (there was one that we had with Chet Faker, which was pretty cool, and heaps more)
There was a lot of work to do in every class, both practical and written, but always had time to have a life. The uni was open till 11pm everyday so you could stay late for work or to socialise.
At my uni, the lecturers are all active in the industry. Some are famous and some have worked on/with amazing productions/artists. They treated me as a person and a friend; no formalities (they’re just normal everyday people), so it was comfortable being with them. They were just super cool people to be around and learn from!
Maddison: You pick and choose the classes you want to take and there’s loads of options. You have to do at least 6 breadth subjects in your 3 years (subjects that aren’t apart of your bachelor e.g I did a law subject even though I’m doing a bachelor of design) which is really fun and a nice break from your course. I love my design subjects because they are practical and the professors are super chill. My least favourite subjects are the art history ones because there’s SO MUCH READING, although they don’t have many assignments.
Nikita: It’s hard so you do have to work hard → it’s a big jump from school. Its very easy to fall behind so you have to go to most, if not all, of your classes (but most lectures are recorded anyway).Some classes are compulsory so watch out for those.
Labs are really fun!
Alan: There were a lot of events, parties and BBQs, run by the university, where there were tabs at the bar and heaps of food. There were a lot of networking opportunities and students were encouraged to perform for the events. There were a lot of times where my friends, lecturer and I would go out for some beers after class. Sometimes when we had assignments in the studios, we would have jam sessions in the auditorium/stage area for our breaks.
A lot of pizza was eaten of course!
As my uni was catering to the entertainment/music industry, social life and academic life would intertwine a lot of the time and I was encouraged to find people outside of uni to record/mix live sound for my assignments.
One difference is that my uni had no student accommodation so that made it a bit difficult to socialise as we were forced to rent houses in the market and friends were all spread out across Melbourne, but it wasn’t a hassle.
Nikita: Living on campus is very fun!! And extremely convenient. I strongly recommend it :) You can stay on campus for your entire degree! Plenty of clubs and societies; most of them are very welcoming, I made load of friends. Australia has amazing weather so there’s lots to do outdoors!
Maddison: I applied for one of the residential colleges at Melbourne Uni and got accepted into UC. So, I made the majority of my friends through college. There’s intercollegiate competitions (kind of like Hogwarts) where you compete for the cup.
There’s loads of clubs and sports teams at the universities too that I signed up such as Lacrosse, Futsal, Drawing Club, Wine Appreciation Club (a personal fav).
What are you top tips for students thinking of applying to Australia?
- If you are stuck with what you want to study, I highly encourage sitting yourself down and thinking about what you are passionate about, and seeing all the possibilities that has (doesn’t hurt to take your time)
- Ask someone, either in the industry you want to be involved in or studying the course you want, for their thoughts, advice and experiences
- If you can, visit these universities to experience the environment/vibe of the whole place and people, including student housing and facilities (this was a big one for me before applying)
- Apply early - best to get it out of the way.
- Relax - applying to Australian universities are a lot easier than other countries because it’s purely based off grades most of the time.
- Know your top preferences and stick to them.
- Have all your documentation verified and ready to upload by making an appointment with the HE team soon after results day.
- Apply to as many courses and unis as you can → you have a lot of choices in Australia
- Transferring between courses and unis can be pretty easy
- Start looking at what each state requires for the application process
We'll be exploring lots of other university destinations with our Alumni over the next few weeks and if you want more information on anything you see please contact our HE Counselling team by email.