Not everyone enjoys high school, a fact Jashneel Chandra knows too well. He left high school after Year 11 to join the workforce.
Seven years on, he made the decision to study mechanical engineering. With a Certificate of University Preparation (CUP), Jashneel gained entrance to a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours (BEHons) at the University of Waikato.
“I wasn’t really into high school,” says Jashneel. “I’d rather hang out with friends and make money.” For many high schoolers, the allure of being independent and making your own money can be stronger than going to school, he says. “But as time goes on I realised it wasn’t enough and I wanted more of a challenge.”
Jashneel made the decision to study a certificate in automotive engineering, but he soon realised it wasn’t enough of a challenge for him. He researched mechanical engineering but found he didn’t have the NCEA pre-requisites. “Luckily, I found the CUP course,” he says. “I applied for A-semester and I’m now really glad I did.”
The CUP course was just what Jashneel needed to prepare for university, he says. It provided him with the calculus and physics knowledge he required for engineering, but also invaluable lessons about time management – notably not leaving things to the last minute. He says the course’s emphasis on managing his time better has helped him with his studies.
Jashneel says the best thing about the CUP course was how supportive his fellow students were. “We all work together in study groups.” He credits his fellow students and his friends for helping him achieve top marks.
This theme of students supporting students has continued through Jashneel’s Bachelor of Engineering. He says students not only work together, but they also seek to help each other where possible.
“The other day my friend and I (who also studies mechanical engineering) spotted a girl sitting alone,” he says. “It turned out she was a first year student and struggling with some algebra-type questions, so we helped her with those.” He insists it’s nothing other students wouldn’t do for him.
Mechanical engineering is proving to be just the challenge Jashneel wanted. He says it has the practicality of automotive engineering, but more advanced theory. He’s excited to one day work in the industry, perhaps with ships or planes.
For students wanting to complete a Certificate of University Preparation, Jashneel has one key piece of advice: “Ask questions,” he says. “You’re not going to understand everything the first time and lecturers are really supportive and happy to spend time to help you understand concepts you’re unsure of.”
Leaving high school without University Entrance doesn’t mean you can’t attend university. The University of Waikato’s Certificate of University Preparation grants eligibility for entry at all New Zealand Universities and most undergraduate degrees. It is available for both domestic and internationals students.