Transitioning from school to further study or training
- University, college or TAFE is different to high school - you will need to be more independent in your learning.
Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
You can ask your lecturer/tutor, or contact Student services.
What to expect
Studying at university, college, or TAFE is very different from going to high school. You may be studying alongside people who are different ages – from adolescent school leavers to mature-aged students (some are even as old as your parents!). Teachers are generally called ‘lecturers’; ‘tutors’; or professors, and it’s usually OK to call them by their first names. There are also different study options, such as attending full-time, part-time and studying on campus or taking online classes.
You’ll be expected to:
- take more responsibility for your learning, including attending classes
review what you learned in class and following up with your lecturer/tutor if you have any questions
studying for tests or exams.
Don’t worry though – there are people at university, college, and TAFE who can help you, especially if you start to feel overwhelmed!
To get help, you can:
- Ask your lecturer/tutor – make an appointment to see them to discuss what help you need. Lecturers and tutors usually have contact hours where they are happy to meet with students. Sometimes this information is provided in the course outline
Visit the library on campus – there is usually a Help Desk where you can get assistance with finding books and other learning resources, and where and how to photocopy and print
Contact your Student services to see if there are student peer mentors, or other support services available.
Some students who are in their second or later years of their course volunteer as a student mentor, to provide support to new students. They take on a ‘buddy’ role and share valuable information about where to get good food and coffee on campus, how to find second-hand textbooks, as well as study tips including how to manage your workload to make sure you get assignments in on time.
How to prepare
To help with the transition in to post-school education or training, you might like to:
- attend an Open day at the different university or TAFE campuses. Many provide campus tours of the main facilities. When they arrive, Open day visitors are given a map of the campus with information about when and where activities will be located. Open days may be loud (especially if there is live music) and there can be lots of people attending. Arriving at the very beginning or later in the day might help you avoid being overwhelmed by noise or crowded spaces. Bring along headphones and any other things you might need to help you manage.
- contact Student services at the university, college, or TAFE to ask if they can assist you with the transition
- find out if and when Orientation day (or Orientation Week) is held at the university, college or TAFE. Many campuses have orientation activities in the week before classes begin in each semester. These activities include meeting the teaching staff in your course, meeting other students in your course, fun activities on campus including games, music and food events, and signing up to ‘clubs’ for a range of recreation, sports and other interests.
- For more tips, Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training has developed a comprehensive resource specifically for autistic people transitioning to post-school education. It includes information, student stories, answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), worksheets, and links to more resources.