Unistart Student Profiles


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.