Waitākere College

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Waitākere College

Courses and Study Path

Students aged between 13 and 18 years of age are welcome to apply to attend our school; on arrival each student is interviewed and placed in a personalised course most suited to his/her needs.

This diagram shows the wide range of subject choices at various levels   Waitakere College 2021 Curriculum Map
Short Term students will have a Kiwi Study Experience designed for them (with no national exams).
Longer Term students may wish to take exams in New Zealand's senior high school qualification, acceptable for university entrance worldwide, i.e. NCEA - National Certificate in Educational Achievement. Please see this link for more detail: www.nzqa.govt.nz   
We strongly recommend that students aged between 16-18 years attend Waitakere College for at least two years in order to have the best chance of acceptance into a chosen course at university. Most students will need this time to complete the English requirements. Students also need a good understanding of the methods of study used in New Zealand schools and universities in order to be successful at university.


English is compulsory for all International Students. On arrival each student is tested to verify the level of English currently understood. This ensures they are placed in the English course that best meets their needs.

This could be:

  • Year 9/10 ESOL Reception class
  • Year 9/10 ESOL class
  • Year 9/10 Mainstream English
  • Year 11-12-13 Reception Class
  • Year 11 NCEA Level 1 ESOL English
  • Year 11 NCEA Level 1 English
  • Year 12/13 NCEA Level 2 ESOL English
  • Year 13 NCEA Level 2 English (usually only in exceptional circumstances).

Courses of Study

Other subjects chosen depend on the English class a student is placed in. Choice of subjects is outlined under SUBJECT CHOICES. It is possible for students to study different subjects at different levels at the same time.

Reception Class

These students study introductory English for half their programme. They also study Mathematics and two other subjects (with limited choice).

Some of these subjects may be at NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) level. When students have sufficient English language they are transferred to the next level.

Year 12: In the year 12 programme, students study English at Level 1. They also choose 4 other subjects at Level 1 or 2. They sit NCEA examinations in these subjects to gain entry to the next level.

Year 13: In the year 13 programme most students are preparing for the NCEA Level 2 English qualifications, which are required for entry into a university. In particular, these examinations test reading and writing, appropriate to academic study at secondary and tertiary levels. They also study up to 5 other subjects, usually from NCEA Levels 2 or 3.

Entrance into Tertiary Institutes: All universities in New Zealand are equal. Different universities offer courses not available at other universities. Auckland University of Technology allows students to start at a lower academic level in two year Diploma courses but also offers three year Bachelor courses equivalent to other universities. In order to apply to a Diploma course in any university, students studying in New Zealand must gain:

  • 4 Credits at Level 1 in reading
  • 4 Credits in Level 1 in Writing
  • 48 Credits at Level 2 (or higher) over 4 subjects with a minimum of 12 Credits in each subject.

In order to apply to a Bachelor course in any university, students studying in New Zealand must gain:

  • 4 credits at Level 2 in Reading
  • 4 Credits at Level 2 in Writing
  • 14 Credits in Mathematics Level 1 or higher 14 Credits in one Level 3 subject
  • 14 Credits in another Level 3 subject
  • 14 Credits in two Level 3 subjects combined.

Some departments have further requirements for entrance to their courses. Standards for International students are higher than for New Zealand Resident Students.


NCEA (National Certificate of Educational Achievement) at Level 1 (Year 11), Level 2 (Year 12) and Level 3 (Year 13) is administered by NZQA (New Zealand Qualifications Authority). All students must pay a fee to sit these examinations in November. This should be included in fees for Year 11, 12 and 13 students.