Not sure what to do next?

We answer your big questions if you still don't know what to do when you leave school, you have too many options or your parents don't approve of your choices.

No idea what you want to do when you leave school?

  • What subjects do you like at school? What things do you enjoy doing outside of school? List the things you like doing and rate them from 1 to 10. This will point you to the type of career you may like.
  • Ask your school about work experience programmes through Gateway, or ask your family if you can do work experience with them or their friends to get ideas.
  • Have a brainstorming session with friends about what your ideal life might look like. What are you doing? Where do you live?
  • Talk to your family and friends about suitable careers for you. 
  • Take our CareerQuest quiz, get ideas from Subject Matcher and explore our Jobs Database to research careers.

Too many choices and can’t make a decision?

  • Talk to people who do the jobs you're interested in to get more information on your career choices.
  • Ask your school or family to help set up work experience in the careers you're interested in.
  • Make a list of all the good points and bad points about each career and see which has the most good points.
  • Check out our Jobs Database to compare the chances of finding a job for each of your career choices.

Parents don't approve of your career choice?

  • Think through your ideas clearly before you talk to your parents. Make a list of good points about your career choice, and make a plan on how to get into your career.
  • Ask your parents for their reasons and be prepared to listen. They may be more understanding if you show you have listened to their point of view.
  • Is there a compromise you could find? There may be a job out there that will satisfy both you and your parents.

Didn't get into the course you wanted?

  • Look at applying for other courses that will still get you into the career you want.
  • If you missed out on the course due to not enough credits, try to get more credits through your school, Te Kura or going to summer school.
  • Consider taking time out and getting a job in a related field, then apply again next year.

Accepted into two different courses, but can’t decide?

  • Talk to people who have the careers you’re interested in to make sure you understand the realities of both.
  • Research the courses more. Does the course provider have a good careers department? Does it organise work experience, help you meet employers or help you find a job after graduation?
  • Talk to your family, friends or a career adviser. What do they think suits you best?

Not sure about leaving home to study?

  • You need to decide how much you want to do the course. What is your long-term goal? You may need to leave home to reach your career goal.
  • Talk to your family or a career adviser about your concerns. They may have some good solutions.
  • Do some research. Check the course provider's website for information on living in a new city, or talk to a student liaison officer.
  • If you are not ready to move yet, take a gap year and work and consider doing your course next year.

Five students talk about life as a student - 1:55 mins.

Shannon: So my biggest worry when deciding to study was moving out of home and cooking for myself. I overcame this by living on two-minute noodles, but its great brain food and it fills you up.

Amy: It’s not actually passing. I have always come from quite a low income family and I really didn’t want to waste my scholarship money and not end up achieving anything.

Francis: Sitting down and doing research is not really my, it’s not my jam. Every now and then when you get your marks back, that kinda, it gives you a bit of boost.

Shevaun: Mainly worried about book-work whether I can get it done. Now that I’ve been through a year of the course and been on practicums, they’ve really helped me to realise that no matter what I’m going to push myself through this cos this is what I want to do.

TC: Just the workload as well was a worry. I didn’t know what to expect. All the classes that you go to are really specific to what you’re going to do in the future.

Francis: No matter how much you think you might struggle making new friends there are just so many different characters and there are a lot of people out there who have similar interests to you. 

Amy: If you’re studying something you’re passionate about, you’re going to meet friends instantly.

Shevaun: Initially going into a course you’re always going to have worries, there's always going to be something in the back of your mind that you’re going to be scared of or worried that it’s not going to work out. But, I feel like as you go through the course that will always change.

Updated 24 Jan 2019