Study path: Which topics to choose at school

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It may sound ominous, but many university degrees link up to subjects that you may already be taking at school. Here’s some information about choosing subjects wisely if you are aiming for a particular study path.

Say, for example, you have always wanted to be a vet. You will find that school subjects such as biology and mathematics link up to further study you may want to do.


They may not sound as exciting as the Comparative Vet Anatomy paper offered in Year 2 of the Bachelor of Veterinary Science, but they help to get you there.


If you’re not so sure about what to study, think about subjects that you really enjoy at school.


Although there are many more subject areas at university, they roughly align with secondary school subjects.


Arts and humanities are similar to subjects like English, history, geography, classics, languages, art history, drama, and so on but also spread to areas such as sociology, anthropology, gender studies, political studies, philosophy, linguistics, and many more.


Within these broad majors, you could find yourself picking papers that you had no idea would exist while you were at secondary school.


Interested in law? It fits into the humanities discipline as it draws upon a lot of the skills needed in such subjects as English, history, and the social sciences in general.


Sciences are similar to the secondary school subjects of chemistry, physics, and biology, but from here possibilities open up to zoology, human nutrition or marine science. If you make the right choices now, the possibilities can be endless.


If economics is more your thing, look into studying towards a commerce degree. This builds on a lot of subjects you may have covered at secondary school in economics and mathematics, as well as stretching to include areas such as tourism and information science.


Then there are the degrees which don’t have many equivalents at secondary school, such as engineering and design. However, if you research on different universities’ websites, they will have information on what NCEA results are required to be eligible for entry into specific programmes.


If you don’t meet the NCEA requirements to gain entry for a particular degree, some of them offer bridging courses where you can gain the knowledge needed to start the degree.


These courses can be a year or so long, meaning your time at university would be longer.


If you talk to your school careers adviser about your likes and dislikes, and a rough idea of what career you want, they will be able to point you in the right direction of what qualification to study.


Also, when you get to your selected university or institute of technology, talk to the student liaison advisers and they’ll be able to ensure you’re on the right track for the career you want.


Key points


*What subjects are you interested in and/or do you know what you are good at?

*Are you aiming for a particular career?

*Do you have a particular degree and/or major subject in mind?

*Do you think you might want to have a second subject specified in your degree?

*How many years do you want to study for (and how many can you afford to study for)?

*What will you do if you fail papers or change your mind about future plans?


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