By Marco Maisano






Australian education system and their teachers need to change with the times


My High School Teacher, Mr Jones, said that I would never amount to anything because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life outside of sport. I am sure many teachers still provide this old school, outdated advice. This is especially true when it comes to studying in the USA. I mean no disrespect to any teachers out there, but you should not be telling a young 14-year old that their subjects in year 11 and 12 will determine what they can be in the future and the rest of their life! It’s not true!

Here is where the US system is different……………..and better! Yes, better!

No matter where you go in the United States, your first two years (of your Uni degree) will be identical, whether you go to a University, a four-year college or a Junior college it doesn’t matter. If you went to Harvard and did business, or you went to Iowa Central and did business, you would still have to do a liberal arts core curriculum, and then you would also still have intro to business, intro to marketing, intro to management, principles of accounting, economics, microeconomics, and macroeconomics. That makes up the first two years. If it’s sports science, then it’s your liberal arts core, and its biology, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, all those things that help understand the human body and how it functions. If you want to do engineering then it’s your liberal arts core, and it’s algebra, trigonometry, physics, chemistry etc..


It’s a more gradual approach that eventually leads you to something specific. In today’s day and age, why are WE pigeonholing our teenagers?

But people say that Australian degrees are done in three years compared to the US where a degree is completed in four 4 … Ok, so if you know spot on what you want to study and you stick to that straight away, you don’t have a hiccup along the way, you don’t go on a Contiki tour or holiday or take a mid degree gap year……..but what you do find is about 50% to 60% of students decide to change degrees after their first year into something completely different.


Because they realize it’s not necessarily what they were interested in.  Remember, they were “forced” to pick their path when they were 14! I don’t know about you but when I was 14 all I knew was that I loved sport and video games!

Ok, so back to the 4 years vs 3 years argument that comes up daily! In fact, many UNI lecturers in Australia and teachers often use this as their selling point.

They say things like,” Come to X Uni, our degree will take you three years as opposed to 4 in the USA!”

Technically they are not lying so its ok to say that…. right?

So, let’s go back to 3 V 4 again…. Most students change degree pathway in Australia (Ok sure, the word MOST signifies 80 percent, but you get my drift here) there’s one year gone.

Then as they mature they realise that UNI isn’t/wasn’t that great, so they take a gap year. It’s only normal to take a break, you have just spent so much time in class. Go out and see the world, experience life and then after that gap year go back to uni.  Some go into something different, and then that takes another three years.

So really, it turns into four or five years regardless, right? Like I’ve always said, it’s apples and oranges. US Uni (or any overseas study for that matter) V AUS UNI……. It really is. At the end of the day, you’re getting to the same result. You’re going to get a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts in something that you want, and then it’s up to you where you take your studies from that point.


Do you stop at a bachelor’s degree or do you move on?  The option now becomes yours again. I can tell you that if you didn’t enjoy your time at Uni you are probably dreading the thought of going back for sure!

A concern that we get a lot of the time here at NSR, and this is really I guess more so when an athlete receives an offer from a particular university, is “But the school website doesn’t have my course where as X Uni here in Melbourne says it exactly as I want it”.

Let’s say for example your child has an offer from X school, but you’ve gone on the website and it doesn’t show physiotherapy or what she/he wants to study, it doesn’t have that as a major on the school’s website. Why are you receiving an offer from there?

Again, its apples v oranges

They are different systems. So, it’s not that they don’t offer it. It may just be listed under something different. A lot of times, like a junior college opportunity for instance, it’s not going to say bachelor of anything.

Like a Bachelor of Science in business, it won’t say that, because they don’t offer bachelor’s degrees. A bachelor’s degree is consisting of four years of study. So, at a junior college where you do the first two years of study, they’re going to offer an associate degree in business, associate of arts or associate of science and business, which essentially is your liberal arts core curriculum and then all of those prerequisite courses that we just mentioned. It’s going to have your intro to management, intro to marketing, intro to business, accounting, economics, all that.

I’ll use exercise science again or any science related field. Your liberal arts core, and then it’s going to have biology, anatomy, physics, chemistry, microbiology. All that sort of stuff. That’s what you’re going to do in the first two years. Then they offer up to an associate degree. If you want to do exercise science, then you can do the first two years … You can do the first two years of any field, engineering, medicine, absolutely every … Vet, agribusiness, everything, at a two-year school. You can design your own course, because you’re going to do your liberal arts core, and then you’re also going to do the prerequisite coursework for advanced study when it comes to the third and fourth year.

So, no, it probably isn’t listed the way that you’re looking at it or thinking that it would be listed

You were looking for the specific words…. A Bachelor of Science in physio-

Because again that’s what it would say here on a university’s website

That’s how it would be written when you looked up Melbourne Uni

So, once you’ve completed those two years, at a junior college. That’s the same exact two years that you would have done at a four-year college or a university. Then you transfer on, you do year three and year four, and then you graduate in the same four years.

Now, when you look at the US system and how they look at degrees like physio, like vet science, like medicine, here’s a big, big difference…wait for it……………. You’re not going to see those schools list them as bachelor’s degrees either, because those aren’t bachelor’s degrees.

Your undergraduate studies, so your first, second, third, and fourth year of college in the United States, if you’re wanting to do something medically related, whether it be animal science, human science, , any kind of science, that’s your pre-professional study. That’s what they call that … You become a Doctor of Physical Therapy when you go to grad school. You become a doctor, like an MD, when you go to med school. You become a lawyer when you go to law school.

Physiotherapy, same thing. After you’ve completed a bachelor’s degree you study further to become a practicing Physiotherapist

So, this is what I love about the US system, here in Australia, to get into medicine or to get into physio, they’re judging the entry requirements for that master’s and doctorate level course for you coming out of year 12 or year 13 in NZ. So, if you don’t have the grades coming out of high school, you can’t even get into the course, whereas in the States there’s a complete separation between undergraduate and postgraduate study. You become those things at the postgraduate level.

Mr Jones (My high school teacher who I despised more than anything) once had the audacity to say that “You really should know what you want to be”………… response…………. MATE I AM 13!!!!!!

To be able to get into law school, med school, physio school, one of those advanced certification courses where you become a doctor, or you become someone that’s highly qualified in your field, you have to make good enough grades through the four years of undergraduate study.

So, let’s use medicine as an example. You’ll have pre-medicine, which is listed on a website as a pre-professional course of study, or pre-physio. Now, the entry requirements to get into med school or the entry requirements to get into physio school or the entry requirements to get into law school, those are high, because you have to be highly educated and you have to be very capable.

Let’s say that you cruise through your four years of undergraduate study and you make Cs, you’re not getting into med school. You’re not getting into law school. If you cruise by and don’t make good grades through those four years of study, then you’re not going to get into that.

You won’t be operating on me.

That’s the thing though, at least it gives you the chance, if that’s what you feel that you genuinely want to do, to have the opportunity to actually get there. I’m living proof of that. I was average in high school

(Mr Jones once told my parents during parent teacher interview that I should be in ESL (English as a second language) because I never listened to him so he thought I didn’t understand what he was saying so he thought I was from another country!)

Once my sporting career ended and I knew what I wanted to do

(I wanted to help athletes have a PLAN B) I was mature enough then. Ok, so when I was 13 I was immature, some people are different, and everyone learns in different ways.

Why are we still acting like its 1945? At least the US is different. Ok, so they still have some changes to make but as you can tell from reading this blog they are well ahead of Australia that’s for sure! Not to mention the fact that Uni life is an experience there and let’s not get into how big sport is!

I’m sorry but IMO (and humble one at that) the Australian education system (when you compare the whole package, experience, options, sports) will never compare!

But hey it’s not for everyone, school isn’t for everyone ……

And there isn’t anything wrong with that either.

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