Education experts and employment consultants say the careers advice at secondary schools is failing school students leading to high university dropout rates and low representation of regional and rural students at university.
Flinders University Emeritus Professor John Halsey says some secondary schools excel in preparing students for higher education but others do not.
And shortfalls in careers advice have led to an under-representation of students from regional and remote areas undertaking an undergraduate degree, which Professor Halsey says is not for lack of ambition.
Blaise Joseph, a policy analyst at the Centre for Independent Studies, said dropout rates result from the fact that many students "simply don't have a good understanding of what university is like and what degree they should do".
Ms Gidley says that, aside from academic capability, a primary function of secondary schooling is assisting students form some clarity so they don't 'mark time' when they leave school.