What I Wish I Knew Before I Finished High School.

Email Banner2

The face of education is changing as we know it, and it’s up to you to adapt, or get left behind.

So you’ve finally finished school… You’ve had your formal; celebrated a number of your friends’ 18ths; said goodbye to your teachers; and perhaps even looked back at the person you were in kindergarten and reflected upon who you have become now.

Though as you prepare for your end-of-school celebratory plans, which might include a ceremonial burning of your notes, there is a lingering thought as to how those painstaking 10 or so hours you spent writing furiously in the examination halls went. These, the most glorified and stupendously stressful hours of the entire 12 years of schooling have almost been hailed as a teenager’s make or break, that it will “define the course your life towards a potentially prosperous career”.

So now what?

You’ve made all this great progress only to be faced with a new decision on what university to go to. And that’s not a small decision either, as we are led to believe that the university you choose will forever define your status as an individual. This beckons the question, though – does that still really reign true? Also, why does it seem that the traditional universities are the only beacons of hope towards a career?  Are universities the gods of tertiary education, and only through their pieces of papers (ie. degrees) then can one succeed?

Why does it seem only the universities are the only beacons of hope towards a career? Are universities the gods of tertiary education, and only through their pieces of papers (ie. degrees) then can one succeed?

Fortunately, the notion that universities are the only path towards success is a complete myth, at least in today’s age. 

As someone who did go to a traditional university, one of the first things which struck me as I finished was:

  1. I needed a holiday, and
  2. After the holiday came months of applications, tinkering with my CV, and going to interviews, which only then finally did I land a job.
  3. Uni alone had taught me very little skills that I could actually apply to the workplace

Essentially, I found that I lacked practical workplace sense, and as a result, a steep learning curve ensued as I came to notice that almost all the theory which I had learnt after long nights taking notes was only, at best, 20% of the job.

So why did I feel so unprepared?

It can be argued that universities tend to adopt a more traditional, academic approach to teaching. With 70-100 (sometimes more) students per lecture hall, one would be very lucky to experience a 3 month internship as part of their degree. What they might receive however, is an intensive 3 year theory workout. Whether this is better or worse, all depends on what you want out of a degree. Personally, I wanted to be job-ready.

Learning theory without any know-how of practical application can be a recipe for disaster later down the track.

What are the alternatives, then?

Many smaller, independent business colleges, unbound by scholarly traditions associated with the ‘big’ unis, are able to take a more hands-on approach to study. These courses integrate practical with theory, therefore allowing students to put whatever they have learnt in the classroom into practice, either by focusing on group-work or through dedicated internships units requisite for graduation. I’ve even seen some colleges like Kaplan Business School have their lessons break up into group activities every 30 minutes, intuitive and innovative lesson plans that totally go against the traditions. They even have industry experts coming in regularly to provide in-depth talks about their expertise in the field. They even integrate internships into the curriculum of their Bachelor of Business courses – this is what studying should look like in 2017.

This type of active learning allows you to grow as a person, and a professional, whereby developing interpersonal and leadership skills enables you to walk into your first job as a well-rounded and confident individual who knows how to thrive within the system of small to big business.

Personally, I sometimes look back and see my high school academic performance as seemingly insignificant, and now appreciate the unnecessary weight placed on the shoulders of teens, who really, should see this time of their lives as the best and most enjoyable.  

What I’ve found is that professionally, not many people really care for what ATAR you got some years back – what they care about is who you are (both as an individual and a team member) and what you can bring to the tableIf there’s one piece of advice you take from this article, choose a college, university or institution that gives you an education that contains a good balance of practical and theory.

Are you Kaplan Business School’s next success story?

If you’d like to find out how Kaplan Business School can help kickstart your professional career, we have a dedicated Careers Central team who are available week-in, week-out to provide expert advice on everything job-related.  Students can make an appointment at Reception to see their Careers Officer who can provide support and advice on: