Transition and orientation

Whether you are returning to study after a break or continuing straight after high school, commencing further education can be very exciting, but also daunting at the same time.

Preparing for further education

Well done if you have been accepted to study at a university or TAFE! If you have not yet applied for a tertiary course, you are doing very well by coming to this site and starting your preparation early!

Many students start university and TAFE without much preparation. This is what some students with ASD said about preparing for university:

Student: I kind of didn't prepare for [university]. I didn't quite expect it to be the same as high school. I wasn't expecting that. But I wasn't expecting it to be as far removed from high school as it was. I didn't really lay the groundwork necessarily to prepare yourself for it.

Student: I [wish I had] people tell me what university is like. I didn't [know] what learning in uni is like. How it's different to high school. How you don't actually have classes you just have lectures and tutorials. You have to study differently, plan differently.

What can I do to prepare for university or TAFE?

You are reading this website, so you have taken the first step to help you prepare for university or TAFE!

Next, make sure you read what to expect at university and TAFE.

There are a number of other things you can do to help you prepare. These include:

  • Speaking to someone from the disability support unit at your university or TAFE about your ASD diagnosis before classes begin. The disability support unit can provide you with tailored support for your specific learning needs.
  • Attending university and TAFE open days.
  • Checking the campus map on the university or TAFE website.
  • Joining in the orientation activities, especially activities that tell you about using the library, accessing the computer system, or any special services that are available.
  • Registering for subjects (courses) prior to the first day of class.
  • Visiting the campus and familiarising yourself with its layout (e.g. library, classrooms, lecture theatres, cafés).
  • Attending transition/bridging courses if they are offered by your university or TAFE.
  • Sitting in on classes during the semester prior to your first day of class (first check if you need permission).
  • Talking to family members about tertiary education.
  • Finding out how to get to university or TAFE (by public transport or driving) and practicing getting to university or TAFE.


Orientation is an important period for first time tertiary students to get familiar with the campus environment, the student services, and fellow students. However, it can sometimes also be quite stressful and overwhelming.

During orientation, you have to:

  • enrol into your course (program)
  • take care of logistical items such as subject (course) selection and student cards
  • register for access to university/TAFE online systems
  • Attend orientation events during orientation week which involves various social interactions.

Check your university or TAFE website or the student portal within their website for more information on upcoming orientation events.

If your course or department offer orientation activities or sessions, it's a great idea to attend.

It is highly recommended that you speak to someone from the disability support unit at your university or TAFE before or during orientation about what they can do to help you succeed in your education.

Glossary of tertiary study words

Additional resources