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Leaving school checklist

Our leaving school checklist can help you with the decisions and options you need to consider as you prepare for this big step.

What you'll need first

Remember, to be able to leave school you'll need to:

  • be 16 years old (the legal age to leave school) or nearing your 16th birthday
  • have a clear idea about what you want to do next
  • have spoken to your parents, teachers, career adviser, guidance counsellor or dean about your plan to leave school.

What will you do when you leave school?

You need to make a plan for what you want to do when you leave school. Make sure your goals follow the SMARTER principle:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timed
  • Evaluated
  • Reviewed

What do you need to do before you leave school?

Check that you have:

  • your record of achievement and NCEA results notice
  • school reports and/or portfolios of work
  • evidence of work experience
  • school certificates, medals or awards
  • references or testimonials from current teachers, dean or principal
  • paid any fines or outstanding school fees
  • handed in school textbooks
  • sold your school uniform (optional)

It's a good idea to keep all your important documents together in one place, for example in a folder.

Preparing for work

Check that you have:

  • an up-to-date CV
  • an IR number (tax number)
  • a driver's licence
  • a bank account
  • a birth certificate
  • interview and work clothes
  • transport to and from work.

Preparing for study

Check that you have:

  • completed the NCEA credits you need for course entry
  • completed student enrolment
  • looked into scholarships (you may be able to cover some or all of your study costs)
  • applied for a student loan and/or allowance if you need it
  • arranged student accommodation if you need it
  • registered with Student Job Search if you want to do some part-time work
  • taken note of orientation and course start dates.

Preparing for work-based training or apprenticeships

Check that you have:

  • completed the NCEA credits needed for entry into training
  • an up-to-date CV to apply for work-based training or an apprenticeship
  • an IR number (tax number)
  • a driver's licence
  • a bank account
  • interview and work clothes
  • transport to and from work
  • applied for a student loan or scholarship if you need it
  • contacted the relevant industry training organisation

Organise support to help you reach your goals

Getting support from the people around you will help you reach your goals. You can find support from:

  • your family and friends
  • your school's career adviser, guidance counsellor, dean or teachers
  • student advisers at course providers or industry training organisations

Updated 24 Jan 2019