Student profiles

Read the success stories of students who completed Unistart.

Zoe Chaves

Rototuna Senior High
Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), major Mechanical Engineering

Unistart was a huge influence on my decision to study at Waikato University

After sitting NCEA Level 3 Mathematics in Year 12, I thought I had to go through my last year in high school without my favourite subject. Then I heard about the Unistart program at Waikato and I knew I had to enrol. Being the first student to do Unistart at my school definitely had its challenges, but I liked the balance between uni and school work. Getting my grades back at the end of each semester was always a nice reminder of how much I could accomplish when I put my mind to it.

In 2019, I was able to complete two math papers - freeing up my timetable in my first year and making the transition from secondary to tertiary much easier. My lecturer even remembered me when I came back as a first-year student!

My positive Unistart experience was a huge influence on my decision to study at Waikato University. I'm currently in my second year of Mechanical Engineering (Hons) and enjoying it immensely.

Ehiri Barrett

Ngā Taiātea Wharekura
Bachelor of Laws, double major Te Reo Māori and Law

The Unistart programme helped me prepare for the future

I grew up attending Kura Kaupapa and then Wharekura. I chose to do the Unistart Programme to test the waters in mainstream education. While participating in Unistart, I learned about time management, which was essential as juggling the Unistart papers and my school work wasn’t easy. But using Moodle, having access to resources, and having online support was a huge help.

Unistart provided me with an advantage and a chance to learn more about the degree I wanted to pursue, making sure it was the right choice for me. I have just completed my first year in the Bachelor of Laws Degree, majoring in Law and Te Reo Māori.

Mā te huruhuru ka rere te manu. By gaining knowledge and new skills, the Unistart Programme helped me prepare for the future.

Jody Bam

Cambridge High School
Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), major Mechatronics Engineering

I am super glad I took the Unistart course

I am grateful that the Unistart Programme exists, as it gave me a solid introduction to the contents of my university study as well as university life as a whole. It allowed me to have a general heads-up as to how things worked at university and also gave me the opportunity to make some mates.

I can't imagine what my first year would have been like without the addition of my Unistart paper, as I would have really struggled during one of my first papers in my Bachelor of Engineering (Hons), especially in my electronics and mechanics paper. I am super glad that I took the Unistart course.

Jialan Campbell-Luo

Tauranga Boys College
Bachelor of Business, major Accounting

Having this experience helped make the transition easier

Doing the Unistart papers helped to keep me engaged in Year 13 and I found that it gave me an edge in my end of year exams, particularly for NZQA scholarships. Now that I have left college, I work full time at an accounting firm and have to balance this with my study. Having an early experience with university through Unistart has helped to make this transition easier, and has sped along my degree by a whole semester.

Amreen Virk

Rototuna Senior High School
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)

By doing Unistart, it gave me a head start for my first year.

As I finished year 12, I was looking to seek new challenges and opportunities for the year ahead as I was doing a pretty good job with balancing academics and sports. This is when I heard that there were Unistart papers through the University of Waikato, which I could do alongside NCEA level 3. At this point, I didn’t know what I wanted to do once I had finished high school. I loved English related subjects, so I took a law paper in the first semester and a writing paper in the second semester. By taking these, I had found that I really enjoyed law and would like to learn more about it, which influenced my decision when applying for a law degree at Waikato - which I am currently enjoying.

By doing Unistart, it gave me a taste of what university style learning feels like and it also gave me a head start for my first year. This was really helpful, as I am now able to do second year law papers and complete my degree a bit earlier.

Paulo Baldo

Cambridge High School
Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (BE(Hons))

Thanks to Unistart I felt truly prepared for the next phase of my academic journey.

I first heard about Unistart just before my final year of high school. I was worried that studying a university level paper would interfere with my schoolwork. However, I realised it would provide me with a rare opportunity. One that would allow me to undertake a unique academic challenge, while also giving me a taste of the university experience. I couldn’t pass it up. The paper I chose, Introduction to International Relations, was something I was really interested in. Instead of being an interference as I had initially thought, the paper was a supplement to my regular studies. I was also able to advance my academic skills. Essay writing, academic resource analysis and source referencing are just some of the skills I developed through the programme. By the time I arrived at the University of Waikato, as a student studying Mechanical Engineering, I was confident in my abilities and felt truly prepared for the next phase of my academic journey. All thanks to my Unistart experience.

Dana Greaves

Cambridge High School
Bachelor of Computer Science (BCompSc)

The amount of enthusiasm and support I got from the tutors and lecturers was amazing.

The Unistart programme as a whole was a great experience. It helped me prepare for University and post high school life in so many ways. After going through secondary school taking a range of subjects from different faculties, it was such a daunting idea that I would have to choose just one or two to focus on and make a career. So when I was approached about taking papers early to experience what it would be like to study at university, I was immediately curious. I took two computer science papers in 2021, which were a completely different experience to any of the high school classes I was taking. The amount of enthusiasm and support I got from tutors and lecturers was amazing, especially after they found out I was a high school student and said that they would love to see me back next year. That finalised my decision to go to university. Getting to know the people, the platforms and expectations of University early really helped make the adjustment to uni life so much easier.