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Heaps of students finish Year 12 and just seem to know what’s next. They’re getting a job or an apprenticeship, taking a gap year, or heading straight into uni. But after years of making your way through school, sometimes it’s hard to know what comes next. And guess what? That’s totally okay.

Use your time wisely

While it’s okay to not know what you want to do, it’s still important to make an effort to explore your options and discover what might work for you.

Pro tip:

Leave the pressure to find that “perfect pathway” behind. Even a gap year may not deliver the ‘meaning of life’ that we often think it will. Just know that anything you explore and experience during this time is still learning – and that’s what counts most.

Options to explore if you’re unsure what to do after year 12

  • Research your options – there are more pathways from Year 12 than going and getting a uni degree. If you’re not feeling uni, check out the VET course options – you may be surprised by just how many possibilities there are.
  • Go to careers expos – Brisbane has a big employment expo each year but you can also search for career expos and events in your local area. Often these are hosted by local TAFE, training organisations, and universities. Here’s one in Townsville
  • Figure out what you don’t like yes, sometimes it’s easier to work out what you don’t like and work backwards from there.
  • Try work experience or volunteering – if there’s a job that interests you, you can get a taste for it by doing work experience or volunteering your time. It’s a great way to work out what you like, and the skills that you learn will look great on your CV.
  • Get a casual job – or several of them. The more you try, the more likely you are to find what you like. The skills that you pick up on the job are likely going to transfer into your future career as well.
  • Do a personality test – try this cool quiz on the Open Colleges website. It asks a bunch of questions about your personality and comes up with some career options for you.
  • In a small number of locations, schools are now offering a Link and Launch post-school program for Year 12 completers who are yet to make the next step.
  • Find some hobbies – you know, ones you actually enjoy! Who knows, those hobbies may lead you to your ideal career path.

Didn’t get the OP or ATAR you needed?

Don’t let your decision to do further study be determined by your exit score. If university was your goal, many unis now offer pathways programs to get you into the course you want. And TAFE offers a range of programs that can count as credit towards university entry, and even course credit.

Mature-age entry to uni isn’t as hard as you think, and a bit of VET study can help with your entry application. So don’t give up on that dream yet. Get in touch with the course provider and see what pathways options are available for you.

Live in a regional area and feel limited?

Living far away from major towns and cities where it seems all the opportunities lie can seem like a challenge, but don’t let this stop you.  Many VET providers (such as TAFE) have campuses in regional locations across Queensland and more and more VET and uni opportunities are available by remote learning, it’s worth chatting to your preferred course convenor and finding out. There’s some free training options too. They also provide financial support.

If you were keen to head to uni, there are options for you too. 

To get the ball rolling, check out the Regional University Centres. If you have a specific university in mind, contact them directly about the options for financial assistance. Finally, there’s a lot of universities that offer online degrees, so you may still be able to study with your dream uni from a distance. Do a search online or contact the uni directly to find out.

Supporting people and have limited options?

Maybe for you, finishing Year 12 means that you now have greater responsibility to care for or support someone in your family. Maybe you are feeling the pressure to get a job and provide financial support? You may actually qualify as a ‘young carer’ and there are support options to help you balance your caring responsibilities with the career options you want to seek.

Feeling completely lost?

If you have finished Year 12 and simply don’t know how to move forward, it’s important to reach out for help. We highly recommend checking out a Link and Launch program near you.

Check out our support page for a range of organisations ready to help you