Choosing high school subjects for uni

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Do you feel like you have a lot of choices to make about your future right now?

Choosing subjects for high school can feel like one of the most momentous decisions of your life. But what you choose, may not be as life-defining or restrictive as you may think. 


What subjects do I choose if I don’t know what to do after high school?

Lots of people have no idea what they want to do after high school and this can affect what subjects they choose. If this sounds like you, ask yourself:

  • What am I naturally good at, and what have I become good at?
  • What am I interested in and what makes time pass really quickly for me? Think of things unrelated to school, too.
  • Do I like to work with others and bounce ideas around a team or am I better flying solo?
  • What skills and education do I need for jobs I like the sound of?
  • Can I do work experience to help me see what an industry or career is really like?

Take maths for example – you may love this subject, but why? Is it the simplicity of wrong or right answers, the thrill of problem solving, or you’re just really good at it and you enjoy the sense of achievement?

This may seem like a decision on a subject, but really, it’s a decision on what you enjoy, and the reasons ‘why’ paints a good picture on who you are and where you could take your studies and career.

It often takes time and experience to find out what you want in a career, so don’t worry if you don’t know yet.

Do I need to study prerequisite subjects?

A prerequisite means a subject you must do to be eligible to apply for a certain course at university.  But at Murdoch we have recommended subjects, not prerequisites. So even if you don’t do a recommended unit, you’re still able to apply for your preferred course.

Recommended subjects are good to take because they help you, firstly, define if this is an area you’re passionate about and, secondly, to prepare you for the subjects you will be learning once you get to uni.

What if I struggle with my subjects?

If you struggle with your subjects, start by asking yourself, ‘why’. While it’s easy to get down on yourself, there are so many reasons why you might be finding your subjects difficult.

Maybe you don’t connect with how your teacher is approaching the subject. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to speak to them and ask for clarification or pointers. Or, perhaps it’s because the study environment is killing your mojo. Is it too distracting or are you working in groups when you typically do better on your own?

Maybe – as hard as it can be to admit this – do you not like the subject, university course, or career as much anymore? You may feel like your identity is as the writer in your family, or the sporty person in your group, or you’ve always been good at maths, so you should pursue one of those paths.

And if there are extenuating circumstances outside your control, have a chat to your school. They might suggest reducing your subject load or changing to General courses or a VET qualification. 

Can I change my mind?

If you’re not enjoying your subjects, it’s a good idea to take a step back to consider your interests and the possibility of change. As you grow and experience new things in high school, you might find the course you were interested in at a point in time doesn’t hold the same excitement for you as it once did. This is okay and normal, and lots of people change their minds about what they want to study.

There are so many pathways to university now, and you can even change courses after you start studying at uni.

What if I need help choosing my subjects?

If you need help choosing your school subjects, you can:

  • Think about what interests you. You can brainstorm this, or look to other tools to help you work this out. Our Think Generator is a great tool to work out what type of thinker you are and could be a great place to start.
  • Talk to your parents and teachers, as they may have some great insights on your skills and talents – some you may not have even thought of yet!
  • Focus on what job you may want and look at course options that relate to this. You can do this by browsing university courses, attending university events or even reach out directly to the university for more help. Our Meet Murdoch team are always available for a chat.
Need a little help deciding on your high school subjects for uni? Chat to us about your options at an upcoming event.
Posted on:

20 Apr 2022

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