Hey guys! Hope you had an amazing summery Australia Day weekend (whether or not you celebrated)! Over the next couple of weeks most new students will be flocking to La Trobe campuses to attend an Enrolment Day. Here you will be telling La Trobe Uni you want to do your degree HERE. Well, that’s awesome, welcome aboard! You will be sorting out fees, getting your student ID and sorting out your subjects for this year. Today’s blog is just to make sure you are ready to do just that.
I still remember my enrolment at La Trobe. I was overseas when I got my offer, and I had a friend checking my letterbox regularly to tell me when I got the enrolment pack. I think I must have had some sort of notification online, either from VTAC or La Trobe, because I recall being so excited that I got an offer for my first choice, but had no one to tell right there with me, and I was sad because I needed someone to bounce around the room in delight with me. I missed early enrolments because I wasn’t in Australia, and I was so afraid of missing out that I began bugging La Trobe a lot to make sure they saved my place (later discovered this wasn’t necessary), and sure enough I came home in January and went to an Enrolment Day to formally accept. Despite being a super-enthusiastic student with all my subjects and timetable planned, I got all mixed up on the day and went to get my ID first, which is actually the last step, and they had to point me to somewhere else on campus to actually enrol, and I got lost, and then lo and behold I worked it out and my day flew by really quickly.
If you are lucky enough to know what subjects you want to do, or if most of your subjects are compulsory, known as ‘core subjects’, then enrolling should be a pretty straightforward series of steps, as listed on the Enrolment: What Happens on the Day? page. If not, fear not. There are course advisors available and other staff and students there to help you figure it all out. You can also check out this page for extra tips. I have added a few below myself, to help you move from knowing the subjects you are interested in to making all your subject choices work for you without timetable clashes.
First of all, in your enrolment pack you should know what your core subjects are. If not, follow the links through the handbook to your specific degree to find out, as you will see three lists, the cores, and the optional ‘elective’ extras, sometimes called List A and List B. List A has first year electives and List B has the second, third and fourth year electives. Don’t worry so much about List B, just the cores and List A, as those will be what you need to enrol in at Enrolment Day. If you want to look at other electives, you can try ‘Course and Subject Search’ on the Current Students page and select your campus and a faculty to access all the different options you can try.
The next step you want to do is see the individual subject description in the subject database to pick your favourites and see their schedule requirements. You can either go directly via the Subject Search, or through the handbook to access your chosen degree and the individual subjects. See my example here of the sociology subject SOC1SAC. Scroll down to see the class requirements expected, for example 1×2-hour lecture weekly or 2×1-hour weekly, plus a one-hour tutorial or three-hour practical. These are the classes you are expected to attend, one of each. Go then to the timetable page and see what is available. Sometimes big subjects, what I call the powerhouse ones like sociology and anthropology in HUSS, hold more than one lecture, but you are not required to attend both. You usually only need to attend one of the tutorials, except in the case of languages where you must attend two, and sometimes like French, they group you so you have the same students in both classes. They really only let you join two different groups if you have some serious timetable clashes, in which case speak to the lecturer. When planning for tutorial times, you can either squeeze all your classes and lectures together into the least amount of time possible, especially if you live far from campus, or you can spread them out. It depends on your preference and how much study time you want to allow. I prefer to study at home, so I try to fit all my classes into one day of campus time and then spread the actual study out across the rest of the week at home.
Just an added note about study, to avoid shock later: each faculty and degree will have different requirements for your classes and additional study. At first glance you can easily assume that outside class time there will be lots of free time to hang with mates, work and play. That would be awesome, but it’s not the reality. The Humanities and Social Science faculty requires a lot of reading in addition to minimal class time, so you may find yourself spending hours reading textbooks and articles online, for most of your week if you are a slow reader like me. Other degrees like those in the Science, Technology and Engineering faculty might have more practical classes and experimentation and less reading. Some degrees might have ‘hurdles’ to watch out for or require internships or work placements for a few weeks, which will affect your work/sport/social balance at certain times. In HUSS, we are told to roughly plan to spend 3x our class time doing extra study each week, but the reality is sometimes you will have quick or easy readings and no assignments due, or you will have other commitments that mean you have less time to study, while other weeks you will do nothing but go to class, go the library, read, work on assignments, eat on the go, go to work, sleep and nothing else. I start each semester with a plan to do classwork and a little bit of assignment prep each week so it all doesn’t overpower me, and the best laid plans fall apart by about week 3. In other faculties I’m told that you will spend most of your time studying, that you can’t do much else like work more than a few hours, as the degree requirements are high. Ask some of the second or third year student helpers at Enrolment, or your Connect Mentor during O-Week how they manage their commitments; this will give you the best idea of what you can expect. Your mentor will be studying the same or a similar degree so s/he will prove a handy resource!
Anyway, be sure to follow the signs around campus during Enrolment to follow the sequence of Course Info session, enrolment/fees, ID – and don’t forget to bring all your paperwork! There are lots of helpers around to help you find your way, especially on Bundoora campus where you will almost certainly get lost at least once. The process of actually enrolling is quite quick if you know your subject choices, but expect to wait around a bit if you want advice from the course advisors. They are however worth chatting to in order to make sure you are happy with your choices, and that they meet the requirements of your degree.
After you’ve collected your ID you will be referred to the display area to collect your student diary, and here you can meet the Student Union and the Sports Centre to find out about their services and memberships on campus, as well as chat to the Transport team to sign up for carpooling, find out about local public transport and bike routes, and get your public transport concession form. If you want bring 2x passport photos along with either a completed form from your local train station, or a pen to fill out one in Student Hub, you can get your form signed at the Student Hub on the day and if needed get the passport photos done through the campus post office too. Once signed you take the completed form to a staffed train station and for $9 you get a concession card to accompany your concession Myki, ahead of any public transport riding you’ll do this year (not necessary if you have a healthcare card or other concession). You can also find your way through to the parking office to buy your parking permit for the year. Residential Services are also on hand offering guided tours throughout the day to those who have acquired a place in the campus accommodation as well as anyone interested, plus they can answer all your questions too.
Other than that, and strolling by the Agora (affectionally called the Ag) for a drink and a bite to eat, your enrolment will be done and the next stop on campus will be O-Week! Check your enrolment showbags for the Orientation Program to start planning O-Week, and keep watch for your Statement of Account in the post for your username and password so you can start logging in to your email and the LMS. Next week’s blog will provide more tips on that.
Keep watching Mondays weekly for more tips to help you prepare for O-Week and the semester. Best luck and welcome to La Trobe! Bec.