They survived the experience (thankfully), and are happy for me to share their practical tactics.
This advice is for students already in Year 11 or 12.
- Think about the VCE subjects at school that you enjoy. What are they? Write them down! Chances are you will also like university subject/courses that are similar.
- Not sure which subjects to write down? Simply score each of your VCE subjects from 1 to 10 (1 = not so much, 10 = the “bomb”). It is OK to have two or more high-scoring subjects, this means that you have more options to explore!
- Let us imagine that Health & Human Development tops your list. What happens next?
- My daughters tackled it in the following manner, and this is something you might like to consider for yourself:
- Collect as many brochures from as many universities as possible—or just from your preferred Uni. (Hint: Plan to obtain brochures at the Shepparton TIS event in June)
- Arm yourself with different color sticky tabs.
- Go through each brochure. Locate the relevant sections based on your favorite school subjects (e.g., Health)
- For each course that ‘tweaks’ your interest, rate it out of 10, use your color tabs and stick to the relevant pages. (e.g. Blue for subjects scored 9-10, yellow for 7-8, pink 5-6, etc.)
- Scribble any thoughts or ideas you have in the brochure as you are sorting, this helps tremendously.
- Some students find it easier to cross out courses that hold no interest – whatever way works for you, just do it.
- Recycle brochures which hold NO interest to you, there is absolutely-positively no need to clutter up your space!
- Keep all your research material together in one place. Don’t hide them away!
- Take a break for a few weeks because your brain needs to refresh.
- Tackle the pile again and re-evaluate your choices, re-labelling, crossing off or adding to the list as appropriate.
- Consider the ATAR for each course; is this score within your capabilities? Discuss this with your teachers and VCE Program Manager.
- Discuss your choices with somebody; verbalising your thoughts also helps in the process of elimination (or illumination!)
- Develop an “Open Day” plan of attack for your higher ranked courses so you can visit and explore (network with your friends so you can go together and save fuel).
- Revisit your brochures every so often in the lead up to the end of the year when you will apply for University.
- Brochures, by their very nature, are out of date as soon as they are printed. It is, therefore, critical to familiarise yourself with the relevant website/s. Which site will you use to apply for your course? (e.g., VTAC in Victoria or UAC in NSW). By double checking, in this manner, you will be able to confirm that the course/s you are interested in is/are still current.
- Ensure you develop backup plans because, like it or not, you may not get the course you want.
Another website I find particularly useful for sorting out university options is the Hobsons Course Finder. Ensure you save pages as favourites as you search, unlike sticky labels, it is not as easy to relocate things online unless you manage it correctly.
Do not get too hung up on whether you have chosen wisely or not, you can always change directions at any time in the future. People do this all the time and survive to tell their tale!
I hope this has been useful.
Good luck with your research!