Course planning tips to make your degree more flexible

Advice from a third year on fast-tracking your degree
Whether you're preparing for a graduate role or getting ahead after some time off, there are plenty of ways to make your degree suit your goals. Dona Siramanne shares her tips to help you don your graduation gown sooner.

Speeding up your degree won't be possible for every student or every degree. You should always check your degree requirements and study load before making any changes to your course. But if you're looking to get ahead for an internship or personal plans, or just looking to use your break to spread out your full-time course load, here's how it's possible. 

1. Meet with your academic advisor 

Depending on which school or faculty you’re studying with, you will have access to academic advisors who can provide advice about organising your course. Meeting with your academic advisor is useful as they can tailor a progression plan which takes into account your personal situation, degree requirements and your goals. factors to consider include:

  • Whether you qualify for credit for previous study
  • Whether you’re eligible for overloading permission, which will allow you to enrol in more than a standard full-time study load of 24 credit points.

Each semester I meet with my academic advisor to check my progression – I was able to shave a semester off my degree as I was eligible for credit from previous study, something I would not have known had I not visited my advisor.

Your academic advisor can also guide you in selecting units of study. Cross-checking units with an advisor can save you from reaching the end of your degree only to find you've taken the wrong ones and aren't eligible to graduate.

2. Check your emails! 

You know those emails sitting in your university inbox that you never open? I am definitely guilty of this from time to time! However, by not opening these emails you may be missing out on some fun ways to fast-track your degree. Look out for opportunities to use the winter and summer break to complete elective units overseas or by participating in interdisciplinary project units

Not only will they help you complete your degree sooner, you'll also gain the benefit of an exciting and unique experience. You should always check that these opportunities fit within the requirements of your degree before enrolling, as some units may not be counted as credit towards your degree. 

3. Keep an eye out for semester breaks

Did you know that the University has many sessions aside from Semester 1 and Semester 2? You can check which units run during the summer and winter break and enrol through Sydney Student. I participated in a summer break unit last year and loved it. I was able to complete a traditional 13-week unit in 8 weeks which meant I was making good use of university holidays but still had time to relax over the break! 

Many Open Learning Environment (OLE) units run during intensive sessions, so if these are required in your degree, it can be a good idea to complete them in the semester break. I personally did all of my OLEs in intensive mode, some were done completely online, and others were ‘blended’ meaning I would have one or two face to face tutorials and the rest I completed online. Be aware that intensive units have their own start and end dates as well as different census dates.

If you are concerned about juggling personal commitments with university studies outside of the standard semester time, you can view the draft schedule on the timetable website to ensure the time commitment is the right fit for you. 

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26 August 2019
Student contributor
Dona Sirimanne
Bachelor of Education (Secondary)/Bachelor of Arts

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