| MARCH 2021 |


How to choose Atar Subjects? - Empowered Decision

It is not the end… only the beginning


I was recently asked to assist a friend’s daughter with picking subjects for her to study for ATAR. No pressure, only the weight of a girl’s career decisions 😄. I am not an expert on the intricacies of how ATAR works although I have done some research and encouraged her to do the same so that she was balancing what we discussed with the mechanics of how it works (although I think it is fair to say we were both challenged by the scaling system!).


My contribution was to I apply what I have learnt from hearing about what hundreds and hundreds of people enjoy and dislike about their careers over twenty years as a Recruiter as well as in my role helping people with career change and career transition.

The parents were focused on ensuring their child was picking a career that had solid earning capacity and a long-term secure future. In the past it was common to pick one career and to stay in that career for life. Increasingly people have a number of careers over the course of their working life and that only looks set to continue. Couple this with increasing automation and, increasingly, AI and it is difficult to pick one career and guarantee it.

There are a number of influences on what subjects a student may pick. A favourite teacher can influence their choice, but it may be the teacher rather than the subject that the student enjoys. They may be influenced by friends who seem more set on what they want to study. Or they may be influenced by what are perceived as ‘good’ subjects to study.

My friend’s daughter wasn’t sure what she wanted to study or be, not surprising at the age of fifteen! Therefore, we needed to keep some options open so as to give flexibility on different paths. We brainstormed a number of career paths she had thought about and looked at the pre-requisites for those courses. She also read the course content whilst doing this so as to get a better understanding of what the courses would involve and if she was actually interested in the content.

“Increasingly people have a number of careers over the course of their working life and that only looks set to continue”

We looked at a balance of what she is naturally good and finds easy with what interests her and what she feels could be career options. We discussed over this year speaking to people who are working in her ‘possible career options’ to get a deeper understanding of what it is like working in those professions and to see if this influences her.

She is also arranging a time to speak to the career counsellor at school and to explore opportunities presented by the school through the year.

I reminded her that she is making educated decisions on what she feels are the best options now. That doesn’t mean she can’t use alternative pathways or go back to study if she changes course with time. A career path in the future will be vastly different, it is more about continuous learning, developing hard and soft skills and building a skillset that evolves with technology and with interests.

Some resources: