Year 10 is the perfect time to start considering your journey from high school to uni.

You don’t have to make every decision right now, but now is a good time to start considering whether you want to do tertiary study and what you want to study at university. Use this guide as a checklist to ensure you do small steps each year that will put you in the best position when applying for and starting uni.

Preparing for your final years of high school in Australia

Attend a Year 10 Subject Selection and Information Evening or Experience Day 

An information evening is a great place to start to help you navigate the HSC subject selection process and find out more about UNSW. You’ll get to ask questions and hear from current students about their experience transitioning from high school to university study. 

Experience Days are your chance to get a taste of life as a UNSW student. You'll get hands-on with workshops in the areas of study you're interested in, hear from inspiring speakers, and connect with current UNSW students. You'll also get to explore our campuses, which will be buzzing with food-trucks, stalls and live music.

Questions to ask yourself when considering your senior years

  • Think about which courses you find exciting, whether that’s one where you enjoy the style of learning in class or the interesting topics you get to discuss.

    You’re more likely to do better in these courses because you’re interested and passionate about the subject and it will help you stay motivated and engaged when the workload ramps up and the textbook readings get long. 

  • Although UNSW degrees don’t have prerequisite subjects for entry, many will have assumed knowledge. Studying these subjects will help you transition into the first year of your chosen degree but aren’t compulsory. This might help you when you’re considering your subject selection for Year 11 and 12.

    You can search degrees or explore areas of interest for ideas.

    What if I change my mind before Year 12? Don’t worry, we offer bridging courses in Chemistry, Maths and Physics to help you strengthen your knowledge before first year.

  • Looking at career options and jobs you’re interested in can help you narrow down what you want to study at uni. You can then start to map out the path to your dream job.

    Don’t worry too much if you haven’t got an exact job in mind. Finding an area of study or industry you’re interested in will help you start shortlisting relevant degrees. You can explore where our graduates now work to be inspired by how their UNSW degree has helped them find a career.

Explore work experience opportunities 

Whether it's through your first casual job or a formal work experience program, Year 10 is a great time to start getting inspiration for what you might like to study and do in your future career. You might even pick up some handy transferrable skills along the way. 

Not sure where to start looking? Start your search with: 

  • Your friends and family
  • Formal work experience programs
  • Job search sites
  • Your careers adviser
  • Casual roles in a related industry

Setting the foundations

Set up healthy study habits 

Set yourself up for success by establishing a study routine that’s realistic, sustainable and balanced.

We've collated our top 10 tips for developing a HSC study schedule. If you start to implement these tips in Year 11, they'll be an easy habit by the time your HSC exams come around. 

Look at the bigger picture 

There are things outside of your studies that you can be doing in Year 11 and 12 to bolster your admission to uni beyond your ATAR. Although studying is essential to ensure you do well in the HSC, it’s also important to consider that many universities look at you holistically. 

  • Year 11 is the perfect time to start documenting your creative works if you’re thinking about studying an Arts, Design & Architecture degree or becoming familiar with other degree criteria if you’re interested in an Engineering degree. Not only will it give you time to practice your documentation skills before submitting a portfolio, but you can also use works from Year 11 and 12 to showcase your talents when applying.

    Be prepared by learning more about our Portfolio Entry Early Conditional Offer Scheme

  • Our scholarships aren’t just based on your grades – UNSW considers your leaderships skills, extracurricular interests and your passion to study with us. In Year 11 and 12 it’s important to keep up your interests outside of schools both for your wellbeing but also if you’re applying for a scholarship.

    Learn about our scholarships to find the right one for your interests and circumstance.

  • If you’re excelling at achievements outside the classroom schemes such as the Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders (EAPL) Program might recognise these. The program considers sporting, academic, music and/or leadership commitments.

    Find out which adjustment factors might apply to your selection rank and any applications involved.

Interview us! 

Attending a career expo is a great chance to find out what each university is about and what study options they can offer you. Asking questions about what’s important to you can help you to find out which uni is the right fit for you.  

If you’re interested in practical experience, ask about industry partnerships, Work-Integrated Learning and Internships. If sports and extra-curriculars are your thing, ask about student clubs and societies, or if you’re busting to get overseas, student exchange might be on the cards! Whatever you’re passionate about, find out what opportunities are available.

From where to go to what to know, read our comprehensive guide to Year 11.

Choosing your uni and degree 

Here’s the exciting part! When choosing what undergraduate degree you want to study and which university you wish to attend, there are endless possibilities. 

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering a university:

  • Alongside what you study, it's important that your whole uni experience supports your goals and interests. Consider things like student life, timetable and scheduling, study-abroad opportunities and career-support

  • Some degrees - like a Bachelor of ArtsCommerce or Science are designed to be shaped by your interests within the field, while others will have a more set path.  At the university level, you should consider whether you can easily integrate extra-curricular experiences that align with your interests into your degree and timetable.

  • Through a double degree, you'll have two areas of expertise giving you more knowledge, skills and career options. Make sure you explore whether you might be able to combine your dream-degree with another field of study to set yourself apart. 

  • Make sure you check the accepted qualifications for any university you're interested in studying in. Many institutions will offer credit for previous study, known at UNSW as Recognised Prior Learning (RPL). This will often vary from course to course, so we recommend doing your research and getting in touch with student advisors before you make any decisions. 

Brush up on your knowledge of UAC preferences

Taking the time to understand the University Admissions Centre (UAC) application process can help ease any concerns about the steps you need to take to get into Australian universities. Read our guide to learn how the UAC process works and get the most out of your UAC preferences.

Attend Open Day

Open Day is an experience not to be missed. Held in September each year, Open Day allows you to fully immerse yourself in the UNSW experience. You’ll get to learn about the degrees you’re interested in, entry requirements, check out the campus and facilities, ask lots of questions and grab a few freebies along the way.

Sign up to our newsletter below to get updates on Open Day and other key events for Year 12 students. 

What will my first year of uni look like?

Master your motivation

When you transition from high school to uni, you’ll notice a few differences straight away. Firstly, you won’t have a teacher checking in to make sure you’ve done the homework. Much of your learning will be self-directed, so it pays to choose a degree that aligns with your interests - this will help keep you motivated and inspired. 

You shape your schedule

Gone are the days of going to class when the school bell rings. Instead, you'll be in charge of knowing when your next class is and where you need to be. This independence also comes with the freedom to have different start and finish times depending on your subject choices and degree.  

Depending on your degree, there is also flexibility to choose how many courses you study per term. UNSW's 3+ trimester system is designed to give you freedom to take on professional opportunities and internships, and our term dates are aligned to the Northern Hemisphere university calendar, so you can study abroad without falling behind.

You can choose the standard full-time study load and complete eight courses each year, add an extra subject each year to finish a term early, or study a lighter load to free up extra time for work and personal commitments. There are so many ways you can shape a timetable to suit your goals! 

Get involved outside the classroom

UNSW is home to over 300 student run clubs and societies - which is where many of our students form lifelong friendships and networks, and gain real-world skills and experiences that shape their future. 

You'll also have opportunities to gain experience that will support your career. Whether it's going to a first-year camp, participating in an entrepreneurship program, or using our maker-spaces to work on creative projects - these hands-on experiences will build your employability and connect you with industry professionals before you graduate.

Connect with us

Discover your path to uni

Your guide to UAC preferences

Learn how the UAC process works and find out what steps you need to take to get into your dream degree and on your way to university.
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Multiply your opportunities with a UNSW double degree

Double degrees allow you to combine your interests and carve out a career path connected to your unique passions.
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How I got the most out of my UNSW degree

Wondering what it's like to be a university student? Meet sixth-year Bachelor of Music/Science student Alice Hu as she writes to her Year 12 self about all the experiences awaiting her at UNSW.
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Q&A: What to expect when starting uni

Hear from current Bachelor of Arts/Law student Jessie Xiao as she answers commonly asked questions about what to expect when studying at UNSW.
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 Want to find out more about your path to uni?

If you have any questions about studying at UNSW or how you can make your studies work for you, contact us below. Our friendly future students advisors are here to help.