Charting a course for university study can often be a confusing and uncertain time for students as they look towards their future careers. However, at ACG Parnell College, help is always to hand in the form of University Placement Advisor, Guy Mills.
A veritable mine of information when it comes to exploring tertiary education alternatives, Guy’s knowledge and understanding of university systems offers students an invaluable resource as they look to navigate this ever-changing landscape.
“My role is to essentially provide the most accurate, relevant, and up-to-date university information to all interested ACG students, regardless of their year level or the specific school that they’re at,” he explains.
Helping students select the right subjects
As many subjects within the senior Cambridge and International Baccalaureate curriculums build upon previous programmes of study, Guy helps students (predominantly from Years 10 to 12), understand how to lay a solid foundation for the future subjects they wish to take.
“One thing I always counsel is for students to try to keep their options open with regards to subject selection. For example, there are clear subject choices if they are looking towards a future in medicine or engineering, but sometimes in Year 13 students change their minds about potential career paths, and it can be incredibly hard to start diversifying at that late stage. My job is making sure students are aware of where a subject will lead and what they are possibly shutting the door on, especially if their future plans are still quite fluid.”
“Different universities often want different things with regards to subject foundations so it can sometimes work to a student’s advantage not to become too specialised. I don’t want students to worry that they’ve missed out on an opportunity down the path.”
Meeting with parents
Although this process is purely student-led, Guy is also available to meet with parents to provide further information and guidance.
“I typically have an initial chat with the student first, and we have a back-and-forth dialogue to narrow down what can sometimes be quite a broad outline. That way I can discover the information they want to know and provide those details.
“Usually parents then like to become part of the conversation, so we set up an appointment at the school and I address any questions, issues, or concerns they may have. This helps parents to gain a better understanding of the acceptance requirements of various university degrees.”
Helping with the application process
Alongside research into the ongoing changes within tertiary education, the contacts and connections Guy has made at universities across the country – and across the globe – ensure he is the fully conversant with current application requirements.
“A lot of families ask for help and advice about navigating university options here in New Zealand, so much of my time is centred around that. New Zealand universities all offer a very high-quality, internationally recognised education, and while the application process is fairly straightforward, many families simply don’t know where to start. So that’s where I come in.”
When students are looking to study abroad, I help guide them through the application process for each university they are considering, highlighting the timeframes and deadlines involved. I have a very good understanding of what each university wants to see from prospective undergraduates, so my priority is to pass that information on to ensure our students stand out among the competition.”
In addition to guidance on myriad universities and their degrees, Guy acts to reassure to both students and parents that all is not lost if plans should change or other factors intervene.
“It is important for everyone to remember that not every decision is final. Most universities are open to changing study plans if students find that their initial degree choice isn’t the best fit for them.
“I encourage students to have a backup option in case their first programme selection doesn’t immediately work out. For example, engineering is an extremely competitive course at the University of Auckland, so I recommend students apply for a place in their science programme as well. That way, if not directly accepted into engineering, they still have the opportunity to transfer across after the first year.”
Guy also maintains a free university advice portal which students can access through their myACG accounts. Alongside many other frequently asked questions, it covers scholarship information and domestic money matters including StudyLink and allowances.
The best way to contact Guy
Our resident University Placement Advisor invites all ACG students and their families to contact him as soon as they have questions about university possibilities.
“It doesn’t matter how early you ask me a question and students don’t need to wait until they are in their final years at ACG before they speak with me. It’s better to look early than realise you missed out by a couple of years.”
Email Guy directly at Guy.Mills@acgedu.com to set up an appointment at any of our ACG schools.