High school can be stressful at the best of times but, this time of the year is especially difficult for Year 10 students, who are having to choose subjects for their final two years of school.
Subject selection not only sets up the next two years of a students' life, but it's a decision that also determines what courses they can take if they get into university.
Sally Payne, Associate Dean of Studies, UTS:INSEARCH told HuffPost Australia there's a great deal of pressure on students to pick their subjects.
"A lot of students worry that they need to pick subjects that will enhance their ATARs and help them get into university. This is made worse by teachers, peers and family members telling them that the HSC is the most important thing they will do," Payne said.
"Students will perform better with subjects they enjoy, so they should choose those where possible. They need to bear in mind any pre-requisite subjects they may need for their intended careers. If they don't like any of the subjects needed for their intended degree they should perhaps think of alternate careers better suited to their skills and enjoyment."
Jessette Garcia and Tony Au have only recently ended their HSC journey and have some valuable advice for younger students.
Garcia, currently studying a Bachelor of Design and Visual Communication told HuffPost Australia when she was in Year 10 she didn't realise what a big deal it was to choose the right subjects.
"I only realised until after I got my ATAR that they are more crucial than I thought, since there are subjects that weigh more in terms of scaling and I wasn't fully informed about what subjects these are," Garcia said.
"I had considered what subjects I loved doing and what I was interested in, subjects I knew I would get great marks in, rather than doing subjects that I knew I wouldn't enjoy. This was my mentality because I realised that I'd be doing these subjects for a whole year and I had to do my absolute best to get the best possible marks."
Au said it's helpful to speak to older students for advice about how they chose their subjects.
"I chose half and half; so these three subjects gave me a good mark and then these three were something that I'm passionate about. I always wanted to be an architect when I was little, so I tried to focus on subjects which would help me get into architecture," Au said.
But there are plenty of people who, by Year 10, will have no clear idea about what they want as a career. Garcia originally dreamed of being a wildlife photographer.
"I took a lot of time in my high school years to get as much information and experience in photography, but I knew I didn't want to just have a photography career. I knew that I wanted to be in a creative industry, anything along the lines of photography and design," Garcia said.
"My photography teacher would always chat to me about different pathways, opportunities and techniques. And it was through her that I ended up doing work experience as an event photographer, both outside and inside of high school."
Au, who's studying a Bachelor of Design, told HuffPost Australia students shouldn't focus on subjects that they know they won't do well in, even if those subjects will scale you up.
"Pick subjects which you will feel passionate about. If you don't do well, then your ATAR won't scale well either way. Also you shouldn't fret too much if you don't get your wanted ATAR, it's not the end of the world," Au said.
Payne believes Year 10 students should also spend time researching the types of courses available at university.
"Careers teachers at high school will generally assist students picking subjects. If they combine this research with being realistic about what subjects they are good at and have an interest in I think they can be comfortable they have made the right choices," Payne said.
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