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Schools engagement

High school students

Find out about study options after high school

If you’re a high school student, CDU encourages you to begin thinking about and exploring different subjects to get an idea about the kind of study or career you are interested in.

You may not know exactly what you want to do, but you can start asking yourself questions like:

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I like to do?
  • Do I have hobbies that I am passionate about?

Check out CDU's research courses from Vocational Education and Training (VET) through to Higher Education. You can also come along to the various events we hold throughout the year. Speak with your Career Adviser for more information about CDU events available to you.

VET for Secondary Schools (VSS)

VSS helps you develop job ready skills while completing high school. CDU offers a range of VET programs for secondary school students across the Northern Territory.

Find out more about VET for Secondary Schools

University vs High School

Find out about the difference between high school and university or VET study! 

University vs high school

University is very different to high school. While there is more freedom, you also have more responsibilities. Below is a quick rundown of some of the major differences.


High School
Mode of study
Internal: face-to-face teaching, students sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher.
Internal: traditional face-to-face classroom interaction.
Class attendance is compulsory. Students are marked absent if they do not attend class and their whereabouts is followed up.
Attendance is the student's responsibility. If they miss a class they miss course content.
Teachers remind students of deadlines for assignments. Students often use class time to complete aspects of the task.
Students are responsible for completing assignments in their own time and for approaching the lecturer if they have questions.
Teachers may allow students to have extra time to complete assignments.
Formal extensions for assessments are available on application before the due date, but may not always be granted. Students are penalised for each day that they submit an assignment late.
Most schools have set contact hours, usually between 8am - 3pm.
Each student's timetable varies depending on their course and chosen units.
Study load
Most high school students would complete five subjects per semester.
A full-time study load at university is four units per semester. Students can choose to complete their course part-time.
Academic year
Four terms.
Usually two semesters plus an optional summer semester with reduced course offerings.
Most schools usually have the basic grading scale of: A B C D E.
 At university: A = High Distinction (HD); B = Distinction (D); C = Credit (C); D = Pass (P); E = Fail (F).
Higher Education vs VET

Higher Education

Higher Education is post-high school education, which includes undergraduate (Bachelor degrees) and postgraduate (Masters/ Doctorate) courses at a university.

Higher Education is traditionally theoretical-based learning, supplemented with some practical components.  

Assessments in Higher Education usually have a research element and can range anywhere from exams and essays to reports and research papers. All applications for admission to CDU Higher Education courses are received and processed through the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET covers certificate level courses from I – IV, including diplomas. They're practical courses that offer alternative ways to access education and training. Our VET courses will help you to develop a range of work skills that are in demand in the current market place.

VET courses are also a pathway to Higher Education. Once you have completed a Certificate IV or Diploma you can then use that to access Higher Education at Charles Darwin University in most undergraduate degrees.

Find out more about VET at Charles Darwin University.

Study pathways

Below is a diagram that shows the different pathways to VET and Higher Education or learn more about our Study Pathways

Study pathways diagram
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    CDU is committed to providing opportunities to students through our scholarship program. Scholarships are sponsored by individuals, businesses, government, community groups and the university to assist students with the financial burden of studying. Explore our Scholarships Finder to see what you may be eligible for. 

    Find a scholarship