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Top questions to ask at a careers expo

If you’re going to attend a careers expo, you’ll want to get the most out of your time. But if you’re stumped on what to ask while you’re there, never fear. Here is a list of some of the top questions you can ask at a careers expo to get all the info you need to make a confident decision.

Questions to ask universities and training providers

Lots of the stalls at careers expos are filled with representatives and current students from a variety of universities, vocational institutions, private institutions, and lots of other training providers. If you’re looking to continue your studies after school, this is your chance to find out everything you need to know about your options. Here are some questions to ask universities and training providers at a careers expo.

What can I study?

This one might seem like a bit of a no-brainer. But different universities offer different courses, and even course names can differ between universities as well. Knowing exactly what’s on offer can help you narrow down your decision – or you might even hear about a course you hadn’t considered before.

What are the entry requirements?

This is another big one. If you already know what course you want to study, it’s also worth knowing what the minimum entry requirements are. It’s also important to know if there are any subject prerequisites or other special entry requirements you need to fulfil if you want to apply.

Can I apply early?

Feeling confident about your studies, or just want peace of mind knowing you can secure an offer before sitting exams? Heaps of universities now offer early entry programs, meaning you can apply before you’ve even finished Year 12. It’s worth knowing if the university you’re interested in has an early entry program so you can submit your application on time.

What if I don’t meet the entry requirements?

It’s something we’d rather not think about, but it’s important to know what your options are if you don’t end up meeting the entry requirements for your chosen course. And not meeting the requirements doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road – they might have other entry options, including alternative pathways, bridging courses, adjustment factors, and more.

Where can my qualification take me?

Even though graduation might seem like a distant future, it’s worth thinking about what you might be able to do with your qualification when you graduate. Think about your passions and what you enjoy, as well as what you’re good at – do the careers your chosen qualification leads to sound like something you’d enjoy and be good at?

Can I get a scholarship?

Scholarships aren’t just for people with great marks. Universities and other training providers offer scholarships to a huge variety of people, including if you need financial assistance, live in a rural or remote area, identify as Indigenous, have experienced hardship during your school years, and more. It’s worth asking to see if there’s a scholarship out there for you.

Where can I live?

If you’re thinking about moving away to study, it’s worth knowing what your options are when it comes to accommodation. They might have on-campus accommodation, or they might have some providers or recommendations for external accommodation.

What other opportunities are available?

Going to university isn’t just about studying. There are plenty of other opportunities and experiences on offer as well – studying abroad, joining a club or society, or participating in an internship are just some of the other opportunities you might be able to access.

Questions to ask employers

The other reason people go to careers expos is to look for jobs. Local and national employers will be keen to meet potential workers, so it’s a perfect time for you to scope out your future job options and start planning. Here are some questions to ask employers at a careers expo.

What are the typical educational requirements for jobs in this industry?

The first thing you need to know before you apply for a job is whether or not you’re qualified. Ask about the qualifications you might need for your dream job so you can start planning, or see if there are jobs with no requirements that you can start in the meantime.

Are there work experience, internship, or co-op opportunities available for high school students?

If you don’t want to wait until you’ve finished a course or degree, ask if they have any opportunities you can start right now. Work experience, internships, and co-op programs are all great ways to build valuable skills while you test-drive a career. You might find your passion, or even decide it’s not quite right for you.

What steps can I take now to prepare for a career in this industry?

Even if you can’t start working now, that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing. There might be current employees at the expo who can share their experiences with you or give you some tips on how you can build the skills you’ll need for your dream job, whether it’s through volunteering, work experience, casual work, or short courses.

Are there any networking or mentoring opportunities available?

If you’re super keen on a career in a particular industry or at a specific place, staying connected through networks or mentorship is a great option. You can learn more about your pathway options, what a day in the job or industry is really like, and of course make valuable contacts for when you’ve finished your qualification and are looking for work.

What skills are valued by employers in this industry?

While technical knowledge might prepare you for a specific job, your skills are valuable no matter where you go. Knowing which skills employers in your chosen field are looking for means you can start building them now and be ahead of the pack when applying for opportunities (even if you end up in a totally different industry).

How competitive is the job market in this field?

There are lots of factors you should consider when thinking about jobs – how easy or difficult it is to secure work is definitely one of them. If your chosen field is super competitive, ask about ways you can make yourself stand out, or see if there’s a similar role in a less-competitive field.

Find out more

The whole purpose of a careers expo is for you to ask questions and engage with the exhibitors, and they’ll be more than happy to help. If you feel this list isn’t exhaustive enough or you just want to know more, you can always ask follow-up questions or make your own. Don’t forget to take notes and grab informational materials (brochures, etc.) about courses and industries that interest you too.

If you’re keen to go to a career expo and start exploring your future options, you can find upcoming events near you by searching our events calendar.

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