Covered on this page:

What you need to apply

Once you’ve narrowed down your options or have chosen where you’d like to study, it’s time to get started on your application. Most applications can be done online on your chosen provider’s website. You’ll usually need:

  • your academic results.
  • an email address for your application.
  • your National Student Number (NSN) or other similar codes.
  • photo ID.
  • proof of citizenship or residence.
  • in some cases, supporting material such as a portfolio or audition.

If you’re asked to provide certified copies of any documents, you can usually get documents certified by a Justice of the Peace (JP). There should be a JP near where you live and their services are free.

It’s also a good idea to get a copy of your New Zealand Record of Achievement (NZRoA). This is an official record of all qualifications and standards you have achieved (including NCEA), and it can come in handy for future course and job applications.

Getting advice and information

You may also want to apply to several options to see what you get accepted for. Some places take students who don’t meet the full entry requirements, so you can give everything a go. Even if you haven’t achieved University Entrance (UE), you can still gain entry to most university courses once you turn 20.

If you’re still stuck on decision making, try the following:

  • contact a student advisor: most education providers have trained staff to answer your questions about topics like courses, applications and fees. You can usually find the contact details for student advisors on the provider’s website.
  • go to an open day or info session: most education providers hold open days and info sessions so to give people a better idea of course options and campus life. There’s usually lectures you can attend, staff to answer your questions, and tours.
  • talk to whānau and friends: whānau or friends in the same situation might have some good advice that could help your decision-making.

Before starting your study

The preparation doesn’t stop at your application! Your acceptance letter will usually come with information on what you’ll need before starting study, such as textbooks and tech requirements. You can often save money by buying textbooks second hand or finding student deals online.

"It’s great to figure out how you best study early on if you don’t already know – there are quizzes you can take online for this purpose. Personally, I needed to be actively doing things to learn, like using flashcards and online programs that could quiz me about the content I was trying to use (I definitely recommend Quizlet and Kahoot!)."

- Amy

Lastly, take some time to think about your upcoming schedule. Make sure study, work and social commitments don’t clash, and that you are giving yourself enough room to be flexible.

Student accommodation

Student accommodation can be a good option especially if it’s your first time out of home or you’re new to tertiary study.

Many tertiary education providers in Aotearoa have halls of residence, and some providers give you the option of homestays. The three wānanga offer a variety of options, including the opportunity to stay at a marae during wānanga.

Taking a break from study

Everyone’s learning journey is a bit different, and it’s important that you pick something that works for you.

It’s okay to take a break after school or during your study. There is no pressure to get it all done in one go! Many students who have taken a break before or during their studies have enjoyed working and gaining life experiences.

Video transcript available for School Leavers' Myth: It's Now or Never Open Close
Lively, upbeat music plays throughout.

On camera: We see the narrator standing in a greenhouse holding a tray of seedlings. The colours are not very vibrant. The Narrator speaks in a funny voice and is looking away from the camera.

Narrator: You gotta keep studying as soon as you leave school. It’s now or never.

On camera: The camera shakes, the colour becomes more vibrant, the narrator looks at the camera and returns to their own voice.

Narrator: Really? Cause my grandma started studying when she was 53. And she’s still going.

On camera: The narrator is now walking through a community garden, where they are working as a volunteer.

Narrator: She’s been a mother, a farmer, a bus driver, a lawyer, an architect. People’s interests and goals change. And their opportunities like Granny once had two pathways to employment, now we’ve got 2000. So let’s not rush it whānau. There’s more than one way to seize the day.

Text on screen: Get pathways and peace of mind with the School Leavers’ Toolkit., along with the logos for Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga (Ministry of Education) and the School Leavers’ Toolkit.