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Why you need a "plan B"

Limits on education funding may mean that you can't get into the course you want. That's why it pays to have a back-up plan. Find out about your alternatives if you miss out on your chosen course.

Tertiary student numbers are rising, but funding to each university in New Zealand is capped at a certain number of students. As some universities are now reaching this cap, they have had to limit the number of places on some courses.

How does this affect my university plans?

Even if you get good secondary school results, there’s no guarantee that you will get entry into the course you’ve chosen. So it is important to have a back-up plan, or "plan B".

What should I do if I don’t get into the course I wanted to do?

It's OK to be disappointed or upset. Take some time to re-evaluate, and to explore your options.  

What can I do now?

Think about how else you can get to your goal – this is your "plan B". This may take time and you will need to do some research. Part of that research could be finding part-time work or getting work experience to help you explore other options.

Try to make up your NCEA credits

Not enough NCEA credits to get into the course you want? Talk to your school as soon as possible. You may be able to make up the extra NCEA credits.

If you can't make up your NCEA credits, talk to the course provider about their summer schools, bridging or foundation courses. These courses may help you earn enough credits to get into the course later on.

A high school student talks with their  tertiary enrolments officer

Prepare for a course by talking to your tertiary enrolments officer

Try applying for the same course again

Though your application has been declined this time, you may still be able to start your course in the following semester, or next year. Talk to your tertiary enrolments officer now so you are prepared.

Try to find out why you didn’t get into the course, and look for ways to improve your application for next time. However, before deciding on any programme, check with your tertiary enrolment office, to make sure what you are doing will help you.

Check out the following links - they may help you earn skills or qualifications that will help improve your chances of getting into your course next time:

Look at other training options

Though your heart may have been set on a particular course of study, you may still be able to get the qualification you want through another route. 

For example, you could enrol in a course that is similar or related to your first choice. If you still want to do the course you had originally picked out, you may be able to have your results cross-credited. 

Make sure you talk with the tertiary enrolment office, they are there to help you.

Work towards the career you want in other ways

You could try looking for work in an industry that interests you. There you’ll meet people and make contacts, and if you excel at your job, you never know what might come up.

If you do decide to look for full or part-time work, you need to know about the reality of looking for work in a tight labour market, and be prepared.

Updated 11 Jan 2018