Subject Selection Time: How Not To Freak Out

Trust me, I know subject selection time can be super tricky. You are trying to decide between subjects that you ‘want’ to do versus what you think you ‘should’ do, and in the back of your mind you’re also thinking about what you need to study to be able to get into certain university degrees… Argh! It can all be a bit much.

From personal experience, I can share with you that there are many different pathways into an engineering degree, but there are definitely choices you can make at subject selection time that can only help you if you do end up studying engineering.  

When I started mining engineering degree at UNSW, I soon realised that when it came to HSC or high school subjects, people usually fell into one of three categories: 

  1. The scientists. These are the students who did as much maths and science as they could at school – chemistry, physics, biology, EES and/or extension maths and science. They couldn’t get enough of the stuff, and good on them. These students met all of the ‘recommended subjects’ with extras and weren’t too worried in the starting weeks of first year maths and physics.
  2. The all-rounders. The all-rounders had done a couple of sciences (probably chemistry or physics) and maybe extension maths, but mixed it up with some non-science subjects as well. By doing this they also have all of the recommended subjects under their belt which know doubt helped them in the first few weeks of uni.
  3. The arts and humanities kids (disclaimer: this was me!]: These are the students that come into engineering without doing any sciences or higher-level maths in years 11 and 12 - they may have focused on english, history or economics instead. They (ahem, I) was a bit nervous about not having the recommended subjects, but no need to fear - there were bridging courses you were able to do before semester started, to catch you up to speed.

The comforting thing to know is that there will always be people in a similar situation to you – and everyone will be at different levels of experience.

So my advice? Select a mixture of subjects that you’re passionate about and interested in, remembering that having maths and science up your sleeve is ALWAYS going to be handy, whatever you choose study later on (but especially with engineering). Good luck with your selections!

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