Course/ Subject Selection

An Introduction to Course/Subject Selection

Choosing the right subjects at school is important – your future may depend on it.  Narrowing your choices too early can change the options you have about what you want to do after you leave college.  The further you go in the senior school, the more difficult it can be to change directions.  The very best advice is to keep as broad a range of subjects as possible for as long as possible to ensure your options remain open.

The choice of subjects is not always an easy one.

There are four general considerations which may be helpful.

1.   It is usually best to choose a subject which you like and in which there is genuine interest. There is a real correlation between enjoyment and achievement (if you like something it is easier to work hard in that subject).

2.   It is advisable to avoid over intensive specialisation since most occupations, further training and education courses require a general spread of subjects.

3.   If you have a specific career interest at this stage you should consider whether any particular subjects are required, or are of value in pursuing this interest.  For example are their any prerequisites for courses/degrees you are thinking about doing?

4.   Give careful consideration to continuing with any subject in which you have already achieved a degree of success and satisfaction.

Society is changing rapidly and so is the range and requirements of careers. It is important for you to prepare yourself by making choices that are as wide as possible.  You also want to give yourself options if you change ideas about what you want to do after college.


Ask for Advice

If you are struggling to decide which subjects to take, it is a good idea to seek advice and information from a range of sources.  Talk to your parents and other adults you trust to get their advice.  Talk to your subject teachers about what a subject or course is going to be like.  You can also talk to your Year Dean to get their advice about different subjects, your overall course selection and timetable clashes.  You could also make an appointment with the Careers Advisor to discuss your career pathways and the types of subjects you might need to be taking.


If you are thinking about studying at university, some universities and courses have recommendations for which subjects you should be doing at college.  It pays to check this out early so you know you are taking the correct subjects.  Below are some links to different universities recommendations:

Auckland University Subject Guide for School Students

Massey University Recommended and Required Subjects

Lincoln University

Otago University Required and Recommended Subjects

Victoria University Choosing School Subjects

Waikato University Choosing Your Subjects in Preparation for Tertiary

AUT Subject Choices

Canterbury University YR 11 & YR 12 Subject Choice Recommendations