The Census Date is Almost Here! But What Does It Have to do with Me?

By Helena Asher-Chiang

Monday 9th April 2018 is the Census Date for Autumn 2018 Semester. Did you know that the Census Date is the last possible date where you can withdraw from a subject or course without financial or academic penalty? You might be thinking: “Hmmm, I hadn’t really thought about it to be honest”. Well, let me take you back to my first year as an undergrad: the year that I failed 3 subjects in the first semester.

I was 18 and I had come straight out of high school. Life looked good, and the sun was shining. I made friends through the many societies that I had joined (ChocSoc anyone?) and I was living on-campus, so I rarely had to leave uni, let alone wear shoes. I definitely had every good intention of doing well at university, I just happened to get slightly distracted, in those early couple of months.

It seemed there was always a social gathering to attend; a birthday, a dinner, a game of pool. After a couple of weeks, the excitement of university life wore off and I started to take notice of my books and class materials, realising that there were impending assessments due, that were slowly piling up. I had rarely shown my face in class, so I definitely was not feeling prepared to submit any university level assessments. I remember sitting in a first year Economics class and feeling the blood drain from my face as the lecturer spoke at length about concepts that were foreign to me and learning that our 2000 word essay was due next week. My response? I walked out and never went back.

It’s almost like I thought it would all just go away and disappear. How very wrong I was.

Several weeks later, standing in line at my uni coffee shop, I was chatting away to a friend. That very same lecturer just happened to line up behind me. She recognised me (I do happen to have a very unique voice – think Fran Drescher from the Nanny, mixed with a bit of Aussie bogan) and said: “I haven’t seen you in class for a while,” and I realised the jig was up. I had to fess up to myself that I was slacking off at uni and try to get myself back on track. By this stage unfortunately it was already halfway through semester and the damage was done. I didn’t realise that because of my lack of attendance (you need to attend more than 80% of your classes) that I would receive a fail grade for those classes.

Had I known that a Census Date existed, I could have visited the student centre and withdrawn from those subjects. The story doesn’t end there unfortunately; even though I eventually learned about the Census Date, I still hadn’t taken measures to deal with my procrastination. So what should have been a simple 3 year degree became a long drawn out 6 year part-time degree.

The good news? UTS has services that can help you!

  • If your priorities are a little skewed like mine were, or you need someone to help you focus on your studies, then join one of the “ProcrastinateLater! Groups”, or you may prefer speaking one-to-one to a friendly UTS Counsellor
  • If, like me, you need some perspective on academic-level assessments, visit the approachable team at HELPS.
  • If you are confused about where your degree is taking you, or if you are reconsidering your career pathway then come and visit our Drop-in Service at UTS Careers.

So, take charge of your studies in 2018 – it’s going to be epic.


Helena Asher-Chiang is an experienced Careers Consultant who has been working with UTS:Careers for half a decade. In her past life she worked as a Teacher, a Recruiter and Human Resources Professional. She delights in helping students to discover their own potential and loves speaking with strangers about their dreams, aspirations and working lives.

Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

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