Talking to my year 12 sister the other day, I realized I’d forgotten how confusing it is to think about uni, plan your degree, and wrap your head around some of the terminology. I remember going online and trying to sift out the most important things I had to know. It’s hard to decipher and decode all the terms, or to know what questions to ask. So I thought it might be helpful to go through the things that I found the most confusing, and give you some tips about new ways to find important information.

Firstly, because the website is quite big, the Uni has recently launched a new app to help you navigate the site and find information that’s most relevant to you. It’s really fun to use, and you can customise it for yourself. Have a look around:
Your World Your Way

The Uni has another new app called the Future Students Guide. This one’s all about choosing the degree that really suits you best. The Guide asks you questions, and based on your answers, it suggests study and career ideas based on your subject interests, career aspirations, and values. It also allows you to see if you’re taking the right courses at high school for meeting the entry requirements.

Want all the options in a list?

Attached below is the list of all the University’s undergraduate programmes and the requirements for each one. Have a look through and click on the ones that interest you.

From this page you can link to detailed information about any programme you’re interested in. Have a look at the past exam papers and what courses you can take throughout your whole degree (not just the first year)

Don’t stress if you’re not 100% sure about your decision! For instance, you can graduate with a BA despite constantly swapping your courses (I’ve taken English, psychology, and politics). I’ve met people who enrolled in a BA just so they can take things they are interested in and see where it takes them.

Career-wise, you start to get an idea of what path you want to go towards as you study, and there are plenty of opportunities in each faculty to find out what you want to do after uni. Speakers are brought in to talk about their jobs, and if you join the student associations in each faculty you get newsletters on internships, conferences, and what employers are looking for.

What is a conjoint?

This one is pretty common. It just means you are studying for two undergraduate degrees at the same time. If you take a conjoint you can finish in a shorter time because you take fewer courses than you would did if you completed the two qualifications separately.

This is a great option for people who want to study something they are interested in but also want to expand on their career options, or to supplement their degree.

While studying for two degrees can sound daunting, it’s actually quite manageable and the majority of people I’ve met in my first year do conjoints. There are plenty of options and interesting combinations (music and chemistry, law and arts, or even things like law and biomed).

Good things to know:

When you’re looking at courses you may be interested in, make sure the course code starts with ‘1’, eg, COMMS 104 is a first-year course. (COMMS 204 is a second-year course.)

University Standard for Admission:

This looks at your grades in high school. The basic requirements for NCEA, IB and Cambridge International are here:

What is my rank score?

You can calculate it here:


Your grade-point average. Don’t worry about it for now, that is calculated once you’ve started university studies.

Good things to know:

If you’re doing arts or sciences, there are two really great programmes that supplement your studies, provide opportunities in your field, and introduce you to a smaller group of people with the same interests:

Arts Scholars

Science Scholars

How many courses should I enrol in?

If you are a full-time student, you have to enrol in a minimum of 100 points over two semesters.

All these numbers sound quite confusing, so basically:

  • You take 8 courses, each worth 15 points. It’s spread out over two semesters, so you take four papers per semester.

Then check the 100-level courses available for your degree. You can browse around and see what it leads to in the following years.

If you’re studying for a conjoint, you need 135 points per year. This usually means you take an extra paper in one semester (doing five), or doing summer school.

Link to how many courses to enrol in:,25%20points%20at%20Summer%20School.

Conjoint options:

Enrolling and planning your degree can feel overwhelming because you don’t know what questions to ask. Remember you can always call AskAuckland or LiveChat between 9–5 pm on weekdays on the UoA website. No question is silly, and there are plenty of people available to help.

Good luck! 🙂