How can a sixth VCE subject boost University options?

NEWS 10 Oct 2022

The start of VCE studies can be a time of mixed emotions – for students and their families. There’s the excitement of starting a journey that marks the final years of school, and there’s also the anticipation of being able to study subjects that students are passionate about and that might be the first steps towards their chosen career.

VCE years also bring the opportunity for more independent learning and for students to feel more in control of what and how they study. It’s a time that can prepare them for the kinds of self-paced and self-driven learning that awaits them at university.

At the same time, VCE years bring increased workloads and expectations. The bar is set higher and students may begin to feel the pressures that come with needing to achieve a certain ATAR to be offered a place in the university course of their dreams.


Five versus Six

Many high schools have a VCE timetable that offers students five VCE subjects in Year 12. As a student, the option to fit a sixth subject into a timetable specifically designed for only five subjects is a challenge. ATAR aggregates include the top four study scores (including an English study), along with 10 per cent of the fifth and sixth highest subject scores, explains Sabine Partington, Head of Teaching & Learning (Senior School) at Haileybury.

“Most schools don’t design a Year 12 program for six subjects, however, that additional 10 per cent could be the difference between a young person getting into the course they want to get into or not”
Sabine Partington, Head of Teaching & Learning (Senior School)

The online option

If a school’s timetable doesn’t allow students to pick up a sixth VCE subject, one way around that problem is to study a sixth subject online instead.

Haileybury Pangea is Victoria’s first private online school for students in Years 5 to 12 and as well as offering a full online curriculum, the school offers more than 20 single subject VCE options.

These are: English, Literature, General Mathematics, Mathematical Methods, Specialist Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Modern History, Australian & Global Politics, Global Politics, History Revolutions, Australian History, Accounting, Business Management, Economics, Legal Studies, Applied Computing, Software Development, Algorithmics, French, Latin, Music, Music Composition, Health & Human Development, Media, Visual Communication Design and Theatre Studies.


Self-paced and flexible study

Each subject consists of two live online teaching periods each week, complemented by three to six hours of self-paced learning. The flexibility in this style of learning enables any students who want to pick up a sixth VCE subject to easily slot the extra commitment into their existing school week.

“Because most of the learning is self-paced, students can learn in their own time and fit that learning around their other classes and commitments. They can complement the VCE program they are already studying in their home school,” says Sabine.

“Studying a single subject online also gives students an opportunity to learn in a different way and to study a subject they are interested in. When students craft a VCE program, it’s always important that they include subjects they love.

“There are plenty of high-achieving students who want a change of pace to their other lessons and who thrive on flexibility and having a sense of independence over their learning. At the same time, they can tap into experienced Haileybury teachers who have developed a VCE curriculum that achieves excellent results year after year.”