Do you have a son or daughter in Year 10 this year?
These days, most students will choose to remain at school and complete Year 12, regardless of whether they have university or TAFE aspirations, are interested in apprenticeships or traineeships, or have other after school hopes.
Think about the next 8 to 10 years
The post school options available to young people today are wider and more diverse than ever. At the same time, competition for opportunities is also significant.
Therefore, making yourself as competitive as you can be is going to enhance your prospects for the future. Thinking medium to long term – and by long term I mean thinking out eight to ten years – is increasingly important.
Here is a simple exercise to illustrate the point, to show how easy it is to get out eight to ten years from Year 10:
For the sake of the argument, let’s count Year 10 as one of the years. Add Year 11, Year 12, and leave the option open for a gap year. That’s four years already.
Most university courses are three, four or five years. Let’s go down the middle and add four years.
Your Year 10 young person may say, “but I’m not interested in going to university. I want to do a trades apprenticeship.” Excellent. How long is the period of a standard apprenticeship? Four years. So whether university or TAFE/apprenticeship, add four years.
Now we’re out eight years in total, and that assumes there have been no issues along the way to delay progress. If our university student is doing well and sees merit in adding an honours year to their bachelor degree, add another year.
For the young person in Year 10 today, we’re now out nine years for the university student and eight years for the apprentice. So ten years, and nine year respectively from now, our newly qualified university graduate and young apprentice are looking for their first job.
Senior subject selection – the first important educational/careers decision
It is for these reasons in combination, that I say the senior subject selection process that students undertake in Year 10 is the first really important educational and career decision they will make. The subjects a young person chooses in Year 10 for study in Years 11 and 12 can help determine the course of their future, and can certainly assist them in making a smooth and successful transition from the school stage to the next stage of life – the next study stage, and the working stage to which it naturally leads.
This is particularly so in professional areas such as Engineering for example, where the study of Mathematics – at least Extension 1 – and Physics at HSC level is important to later study success.
While there are usually options for those who have not laid the best foundations, if you can get the senior subject selection process right, this will help to keep a young person motivated and focused during their senior years. And motivation and focus are likely to lead to higher levels of academic success. A logical consequence of this, then, is a more competitive applicant for opportunities after completing school.
4 Guiding Principles
The Year 10 subject selection process can start as early as June. Be prepared. Here are four guiding principles that will assist greatly in subject selection;
- Choose subjects that interest you.
- Choose subjects at which you do well academically.
- If you have a clear career goal in mind – Engineering, or Law or Architecture for example – choose subjects that will help you make a smooth and successful transition from school to the next study stage.
- If you do not have a clear career goal, then choose your subjects more broadly in the interests of keeping open your options.
Gordon Doyle, Careers Adviser