Studying in a regional area

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Have you thought about studying in a regional area? It could be that the best place to study your course is at a regional campus.

ENTER scores are usually lower for regional campuses because there’s less demand for the courses. Another advantage is that rent and groceries are sometimes cheaper in regional areas and you’re likely to find places to live and work close to the campus.

Pippa, 21, grew up in Melbourne but chose to study Occupational Therapy at Deakin University’s Geelong Waterfront Campus.

Why did you choose to study in a regional area?

My course was only offered in Bundoora, Albury Wodonga, Geelong or Frankston. At the time I hadn’t got my driver’s licence yet and I figured it would take just as long to get to Geelong by public transport as it would to get to Bundoora or Frankston. And the Geelong Waterfront Campus was nicer.

Did you move away from home?

In my first year I lived at home and caught the train to Geelong. This year I got my driver’s licence and moved to Geelong to live with friends. I drive back to Melbourne every weekend to work.

It’s great to live in two places - it means I get a break from Melbourne. When you live in Geelong it’s so much more relaxed, there’s less pretension.

What did your family and friends think of your decision?

Some of them didn’t see why I’d bother moving because Geelong isn’t that far away.

I found that living away from home actually improved my studies at uni because I didn’t have my parents pressuring me. Living away from home made me more independent.

What are some of the advantages of studying in a regional area?

It’s a tight-knit community, which is great if you’re doing a course like mine that has community-based practice or field work. In Occupational Therapy you get to do one placement in Melbourne, one in a rural area and one down the coast.

At such a small campus you get so much help. Like when my computer wasn’t saving anything the head of my course sorted it out for me. I know all the people in charge of my course and all the admin staff and when you see them outside of uni you always say ‘hi’.

Deakin is the only uni in Geelong so you get a lot of benefits being a student. If you’re going out at night you just rock up with your student card and they’ll give you a discount.

What are some of the disadvantages of studying in a regional area?

The Geelong Waterfront Campus of Deakin University is not as big as some of the other ones, like Burwood. So there are no student clubs or societies based there and the library is pretty small

Sometimes if you need other books you have to travel to another campus. It’s only a 20-minute drive to the library at the Waurn Ponds campus but before I had my licence it took me an hour because the buses only run every 30 minutes.

What advice would you give to someone who is choosing where to study?

If you’re studying in a regional area you need to move there. You can’t make good friendships in just a few hours each week. If you live there you can spend more time with people.

I wish I’d gone on res [lived on campus]. If you’re studying away from home it’s a good way to meet people.