How to choose your VCE subjects

It's never too early to start thinking about VCE.

An important step towards VCE preparation is knowing which subjects to select.

Chances are, you’ve faced that ‘What do you want to do with your career?’ question from family and friends. The answer may be something you’re still figuring out.

That's OK, but be mindful that soon you’ll need to select which subjects you would like to study for VCE. It’s likely these subjects will influence what you choose to do beyond high school.

Before making your subject choices, take the time to consider a few factors that could make the task easier.

RMIT student, Max.

Three tips to get started

  1. Think about the subject areas you are passionate about, what you are good at and what you enjoy studying. Can you see yourself working in these areas in the future? Ask yourself if these subjects fire your curiosity and make you feel inspired.  

    “I have always been intrigued by what drives people, in addition to the creation and strengthening of relationships with people. Marketing fitted what I found interesting and what I would want from a career,” says Michael Palermo, an RMIT business student. 
    “I chose the Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (Applied) at RMIT for the location, the wealth of industry connections, practical learning and the year of industry experience within an organisation of your field, which is a part of the applied course.”

  2. Do a little investigating into the VCE subjects and requirements that will enable you to study your area of interest at uni. Certain programs call for students to pass VCE subjects to be eligible. They may even have some selection tasks or a folio of work that would need to be submitted to get into a uni or TAFE.

  3. Remember to follow you own interests. Some students fall into the trap of selecting subjects they think will reward them with a high ATAR score. It’s pointless to pick a subject based on scaling if you don’t enjoy it or are no good at it. Your ATAR is reflective of your performance across all your studies.

Why you should keep your options open

To pass VCE, students need to complete three units from the English group, including a Unit 3-4 sequence, and at least three sequences of Unit 3–4 studies from other subjects.

When choosing what these other subjects will be, it’s important to know that some subjects could be a prerequisite to enter your uni course one day. A maths or science subject, for example, is likely to be a prerequisite for anyone interested in a career in engineering or IT.

You may not know the exact program you wish to study in the future, but if you have a general idea, look at the entry requirements for a wide range of courses and find the prerequisite subjects they have in common. Including these in your VCE program will open the door to more options after high school.

RMIT student, Maya.

How to research courses and pathways

Trying to wrap your head around the differences between RMIT courses, and which one is best for you? 

RMIT’s ATAR Course Finder helps you search for courses by entering your projected ATAR. Although ATAR requirements for each course are subject to change by the time you’re in Year 12, it can give you a good idea of what’s available in study areas you’re interested in.

Remember, the traditional path to uni isn’t the only one. If you don’t meet the entry requirements of your course at first, there are still ways to get there. 

Pathways at RMIT are alternative ways to reach your program by completing a vocational (TAFE) qualification first. If you miss the mark on your ATAR, you can choose a TAFE qualification, which is usually shorter and more hands-on than an undergraduate degree (commonly referred to as a Bachelor degree). 

After completing your TAFE qualification, you can apply for credit for prior study or experience, which helps you get into the degree you were originally aiming for – even if you don’t have the ATAR you needed. In most cases, transferring credit from your TAFE qualification also saves you time by reducing the length of your undergraduate degree. 

You can research pathways using RMIT’s Pathways Finder tool. RMIT also recently introduced Pathways Guaranteed, which guarantees your place in your undergraduate degree upon completion of your TAFE qualification. 

Who to turn to for advice

  • Schools have career advisors and VCE coordinators who can provide guidance on career direction. They will have information on a variety of tertiary programs in your interest areas and what you need to do to be eligible for them.

  • Check out career expos and university open days. You may be two years off finishing Year 12, but it’s well worth being informed and up-to-date on the latest higher education options to choose from.

  • You’ll also find plenty of information online. A good place to start is the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) website, which provides tips on VCE subject selection and explains how ATARs are calculated. Youth Central is another independent source of information on everything from SACs (school assessed curriculum) to VET (Vocational Education and Training).

Don’t stress, VCE hasn’t arrived just yet! But when it does, you’ll be armed with the information to decide what’s next.

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.