Studying interstate at the tertiary level is becoming increasingly popular with Australian teenagers. Many parents are still reluctant to consider this and often don’t know where to obtain reliable information about their concerns.
Having counselled many students who have ventured into tertiary study in another state, I can highly recommend this option. Students generally thrive in this exciting new environment and grow up so much more quickly than their friends who stay at home during their post-secondary studies. Importantly, the life skills acquired when living away from home equip young people to stand out in graduate interviews and compete successfully for the best graduate employment positions available. Here are some of the most frequent questions parents ask about interstate study.
Is it hard for students to make friends interstate?
Absolutely not. In fact students who study interstate often make friends more quickly than those who stay at home and study in their own state. There is a great community feeling among students who live away from home and universities really look after interstate students. Some even provide free tutors or mentors if students need them. There are many social activities organised to help students settle into their studies away from their home state.
How hard is it to get accommodation? How much does it cost?
It isn’t difficult at all to find good accommodation. University websites have a lot of information about accommodation and support for interstate applicants. Costs vary according to whether students want their own room, a shared room or are happy to do their own cooking (self-catered) or want meals provided. Students can live on campus or off campus. Off campus accommodation is generally cheaper and universities have options they can recommend as safe for young people. It is advisable to investigate and sometimes pre-book accommodation even before students receive an offer into an interstate university. On the whole, deposits are very low and most are refundable if a students does not receive an offer into the university.
When students study interstate can they still access financial support from the government?
Yes. Students who study interstate can access CSP (Commonwealth Supported Place) places. They may also be eligible for some living away from home allowance from the government.
What happens if a student is unhappy studying away from home?
Students should simultaneously apply for courses in their own state as well as interstate. They can then defer the place offered in their home state and take up the interstate offer. Teenagers need to be reassured that they can return home if they are very unhappy and take up the place in their own state. They will generally have to wait till the new semester or sometimes the next year, but the course will be there waiting for them.
However, the major message should be that universities do everything possible to ensure students are supported. There is free counselling and advice. Before your teenager applies to study away from home, spend some time on websites locating all of the support services offered at interstate universities.
Why is interstate study a good idea full stop?
There are a huge range of reasons why this is a great option. Studying away from home is the quickest way for young people to grow up and gain invaluable independence, self-confidence and an array of essential life and employment skills. Sometimes interstate universities also offer courses unavailable in a student’s home state or unique courses well worth re-locating for.
Are students safe if they stay on campus in another state?
There has been some very concerning press about hazing rituals at some halls of residence in many universities around Australia. The fact that this has been in the media increases the likelihood that these archaic rituals will be less frequent – hopefully eradicated entirely. All universities want to protect their students and their reputations. Before choosing accommodation on or off campus, students and parents should thoroughly investigate and ask lots of questions. Universities should be happy to answer all questions and be able to speak confidently about security. Halls of residence at all universities generally have excellent security.
Can students who study interstate easily find part-time work?
All university students, whether they study in their own state or interstate, should have part-time employment. Apart from helping to financially support themselves, they are stacking up priceless life and career skills that will help them gain quality graduate employment. All universities in all states offer students support in finding part-time employment but students can also look for options themselves. In most cities around Australia, students can quite easily find part-time work if they really want it, and they should want it.
If you have any other questions, do not hesitate to contact any university around Australia. All universities want good students and they want their students to be happy and to succeed – especially those who are visitors from interstate. Check websites to find contact numbers and email addresses where you can find answers to all of your questions.