Choosing what to study isn’t easy. We completely understand. Here are some practical tips to help you make the right call.
Study what you want
It seems obvious, but when choosing your course preferences you should list the courses you are most excited about. Chances are you’ll encounter a lot of opinions about what you should study, but this is about what you want to study. If you’ve got your heart set on a course, go for it.
Look past the course to the career
There are lots of reasons people go to university. However one of the main motivations is to get the skills you need for a meaningful career – whether you’re launching a brand new one or advancing along an existing career path. Talk to a careers advisor or friends in the industry, trawl career profiles and even consider some online career quizzes. Make sure you look around carefully and choose a course that aligns with your planned career outcomes.
It’s all in the detail
When you’re trying to prioritise a long list of similar-sounding courses, take time to look at the finer details. See if there are opportunities for internships or practical experience, if you’ll be accredited when you graduate, if you can specialise during your course, and what kind of facilities you’ll have access to. You can even check out the specific subjects you will study, and view example timetables.
Get across deadlines and entry requirements
There are a lot of different deadlines for applications and change of preference rounds, so refer to your local tertiary admissions centre (UAC, VTAC or QTAC) for the relevant information, and put it in your diary. Entry requirements also differ between courses, and many have prerequisite subjects that need to be completed before you’re accepted. Others may require an interview or audition. So check the entry requirements for individual courses so that you’re only applying for programs you’re eligible for.
List the courses in order of preference
No matter what ATAR/OP you think you’ll get, you should list your courses in order of preference. So the course you’d most like to study first, followed by the second, etc.
Have a back-up plan
You may have your heart set on one specific course, but you should still list as many courses as you can on your preference list. This should include similar courses with more flexible entry criteria (eg lower ATAR/OP), or courses on different campuses, or with different entry requirements. This gives you options if you don’t get into your first preference, and you can always decline an offer if you get accepted and decide it really isn’t the course for you. Also some courses can act as pathways into other programs, so you can use a course with more flexible entry requirements as a stepping-stone into your preferred degree.