Unistart Student Profiles


Dylan Woodhouse

St Paul's Collegiate School
Bachelor of Laws with Honours, majoring in Law and Political Science

Completing the 'Introduction to International Relations' paper through Unistart gave me a competitive advantage in the NCEA, Scholarship and Cambridge examinations in my final year of high school. Taking an online paper meant I was able to watch the lectures at my own pace, take notes and complete the assessed tutorial questions as soon as they were made available. I really appreciated the flexibility of the Unistart Programme – it enabled me to keep on top of my workload and exam preparation.

Now studying law at the University of Waikato, I enjoy the diversity of papers on offer and the supportive learning environment. I've been able to take second year papers during my first year thanks to the knowledge I gained through the Unistart Programme. It's proven to be helpful for my papers going forward and a valuable addition to my scholarship applications.


Lily McDonald

Raglan Area School
Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance

Taking a Unistart paper impulsively has paid off and as a result I now feel much more confident as a first year Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance student at Waikato.

Unistart was promoted as an opportunity to decrease workload during my first year at uni, and while this is a fair point, the value I got out of the programme covered a lot more ground in a way I hadn’t anticipated. I found it quite challenging initially – it's hard to commit to an optional workload increase like this, however I can say with confidence that it was worth it.

I feel I've gained a unique comprehension of the university experience. The paper structure, grading system and management of time associated with uni study is a lot to wrap your head around, so it's been hugely beneficial to get this initial phase of uncertainty out of the way before tackling first year.


Maraea Akaroa

Te Wharekura o Ngāti Rongomai
Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Te Reo Māori and Japanese

I could have taken a gap year, but I really wanted to make sure I had the very best start to my university studies. I was also in a unique position – I went to a wharekura where my kaiako (teachers) supported me to complete all of my NCEA Level 3 exams in Year 12.

My Unistart papers were challenging and engaging so I felt very motivated. Navigating Moodle and studying online was easy. Completing these papers and getting support from my lecturer has meant that I will now finish my Bachelor of Arts in Te Reo Māori and Japanese within two and a half years.


Nathan Blackwood

Cambridge High School
Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences with Honours

The Unistart Programme gave me the opportunity to get a head start in studying a subject that I have a real passion for. Managing the workload of a couple of uni papers alongside high school was tough, but thanks to the support I received throughout the programme from my school and the uni, I felt I had the resources I needed to succeed.

Unistart was a great stepping stone from the classroom environment to the lecture theatre. It was really useful to learn what it's like to complete a paper before actually heading off to uni. Now in my first year of a Bachelor of Computing and Mathematical Sciences with Honours, I can really see the benefit of taking Unistart papers – it was worth the hard work.