Choosing subjects to study in senior high school is hard. If you’re feeling confused or overwhelmed about it all, here’s our top tips and advice to help get you started on the right track.
Things you could do
- Start to think about your subjects now if you haven’t already
- Double check the compulsory subjects that you have to take at your school
- Pursue your interests. If you love Art and Japanese, then choose those subjects. But balance them with other studies that will make you ATAR eligible (if uni is an option) and that will give you the most flexibility in your options after Year 12
- Research the post high school pathway you’re planning on taking. See what subjects may be required to help get you in to the course, apprenticeship, traineeship or career
- Speak to an expert (teachers and careers practitioners at your school) to see if the combination of subjects on your shortlist will make you eligible for an ATAR or not
- Whether your electives provide the best range of options for after high school or could they limit your opportunities
- Discuss your options with a broad range of people from teachers and parents, to Future Student teams at universities and prospective employers at Careers Fairs
- Be realistic. E.g. You might love animals but you’re not great at Chemistry or Maths and you’re scared of some animals. Looks like becoming a Veterinarian might not be a dream career for you, think about other options from dog handling in customs or the police, to animal behavioural studies instead.
We recommend that you don’t:
- Put off thinking about your options and leaving it until the last minute, then choosing random subjects
- Choose subjects just because you think that they’re easier or they might scale better and will help you to get a better ATAR
- Don’t just take the easy route. If you’re going to study Maths or English for example, go for the harder options instead. Because:
- You could surprise yourself and do really well
- The next two years at school could be really boring if you don’t challenge yourself
- You can always go down a level but it’s unlikely that you can move upwards once you’ve made your choices
- You don’t really want to limit yourself do you?
- Choose subjects that will really limit what you can do or apply for after Year 12. For example, if you choose only STEM subjects then you’ll be ensuring that your future study or work opportunities will only be in that field
- Forget about Maths – lots of universities list English as their only prerequisite, but you’ll find that not only is Maths incredibly useful in life, it’s also essential assumed knowledge for lots of degrees and other courses
- Choose subjects because your best mate is taking them or your parents would be happy if you did
- Try out the Subject Selection Calculator to get some ideas about subjects to choose in Year 11 and 12
Don’t stress out
Yes, Subject Selection is important, but it’s not the be all and end all.
The subjects you choose now won’t make or break your career success in future years, there will always be alternative pathways and Plan B’s.
So give it some thought sure, consider all your options absolutely, but don’t lose sleep over it.
Use the Subject Selection Calculator
It could help you to discover your options and get some help making your subject selections easier, and all it takes is a couple of clicks.
You need to enter some initial choices, then the calculator will suggest other subjects and possible careers that you might like to explore, help to narrow down your results and then provide you with information about the prerequisites or assumed knowledge for each field.
Looking for more information?
Head over to our Subject Selection page where you’ll find lots more resources, including:
- Navigating Year 10 Subject Selection
- 7 Tips to help with Year 11 & 12 Subject Selection
- 5 tips for Year 10 Subject Selection
- A flow chart of the 7 Steps for Selecting Senior Subjects
- The new Subject Selection Calculator
Or grab your copy of our Subject Selection Handbook, which could help you to work through your options more easily.