This is it.
You’ve worked long and hard, and your exams and assessments are done, and it’s completely normal to feel apprehensive about your results.
But there’s no need to panic.
Get some perspective
Yes, your marks are a big deal. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not trying to take anything away from how important your results are to you and how much effort it’s taken you to get to this point.
But we’ve been in your shoes before, so stay in control of your nerves as the big day comes closer with these tips from our experts:
- It’s just a snapshot of one period of time, not forever
What on earth does that even mean?
Well, what’s important & keeping you up at night right now won’t be important down the track.
Once you’ve left school and got into Uni, started working or have set out on your epic gap year, your ATAR / OP score won’t matter much to anyone.
There will be new things to enjoy, new things to worry about (and there always will be). Remember, if you’re feeling really stressed, this is a short-term glitch that will soon be ancient history.
- Your future IS bright
Sometimes the pressure of making the right choices can be more overwhelming than the results themselves, but your results still get the blame.
It’s OK if you don’t know exactly what you want from life.
You have a whole life ahead of you and endless opportunities to change your path.
Some people are lucky enough to have a vocation (a calling) that drives them towards a certain goal.
They’re the lucky ones.
For the rest of us, well we often just muddle through. And that’s OK too.
If you ask a bunch of people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s (and up) when they knew what they wanted to do with their lives. Most of them would probably say they still haven’t figured it out, and for others it will have been a sea change later in life.
It doesn’t mean their younger years were wasted either, there’s nothing wrong with change.
Do you really want to go to Uni?
If your answer is YES and you can’t wait to start studying then whoop-de-do.
If you’ve picked your course and you’re super excited about what’s in store then you know you’re on the right track.
If the thought of the course you’ve picked fills you with dread there’s still time to get back to the drawing board and change your preferences.
If you’re excited about studying but still not 100% sure what career you want to go for, then choose the course that gives you the broadest range of subjects to choose from. That way you can get a little taster of a few things and then specialise once you’ve discovered what really floats your boat.
If your answer is NO, that’s fine too.
Don’t feel like you have to go to Uni because you don’t know what else to do. It could get you into debt and be a waste of your time.
Take some time to have a look around at your options, because there are plenty.
For a start, read our blog about “Alternative Pathways”, it’ll open your eyes to a few options that you may not know exist or that you hadn’t considered before.
Are you still eager to learn?
If you don’t feel quite ready for work, or you have an idea about something that might interest you but you’re not ready to commit straight away, then look at what other study options are open for you.
TAFE and plenty of other colleges, not to mention thousands of RTO’s (Registered Training Organisations) are out there offering qualifications in just about anything you can imagine. And you won’t have to commit the same amount of time or money as at Uni.
TAFE even offer free courses for Year 12 graduates.
If you find you really enjoy studying and want to pursue it further, then you could always apply to Uni at the end of your course.
Do you want to start working right away?
Great! You might fall into a job for life or discover a career you’d rather not do forever.
Whatever happens you’ll be getting work experience, learning on the job and getting paid. That’s fantastic for your resume and will help you make better choices further down the track.
Check out apprenticeship & traineeships as well – you’ll learn and earn at the same time.
- You are NOT a failure
What if your ATAR or OP isn’t what you’d hope for?
Life WILL go on. You will still grow, learn, live and love your job (hopefully). It’s just one bump in the road, but there are lots of ways around it.
If you don’t get the mark you need you could:
- Do a bridging course
- Apply for a similar course at the Uni you’d like and then transfer across to your original choice after the first year (check that’s an option before you commit)
- Apply for alternative entry at the University where your preferred course is
- Apply to another Uni which has less stringent entry requirements (bet you’ll love it and be glad it worked out that way)
- Take a gap year to reassess your options and decide what you’d really like to do
- Get a job – try out a few different roles, get work experience, learn what you’re good at and what you enjoy
The only way your ATAR or OP will make you a failure is if you let it – and if you don’t want to tell anyone your ATAR or OP then you have absolutely no obligation to do so.
- Your ATAR / OP does not define you
Right now, for this period in your life, you might feel that it’s the only thing everyone and anyone is talking about.
How did you do in your exams? What are you planning to study at Uni? What is your ATAR / OP?
Firstly, it’s a sign that people care about you and how you’re doing. They’re trying to be supportive and show they’re paying attention to what’s going on in your life.
Secondly, if you don’t want anyone to know your results then you have no obligation to tell them. Comparing ATARs is usually a bad idea – seriously, what good can come of it? Just use it for what you need then move on.
Everyone knows that you are greater than your result. It’s just a number. The value of that number may determine which Uni course you get onto (if that’s what you’d like to do) but ultimately that’s really it.
I actually forgot my ATAR (back then it was called a UAI) about 5 years after I graduated from high school.
So don’t get hung up thinking that your life is ruined if you don’t the greatest score ever. Take the opportunity to show your true spirit by dusting yourself off and making epic decisions about how to move forward.
- You’re not alone
No doubt you already know that your parents and good friends are there to support your decisions and help you navigate your way through this stressful time. Let them, it’ll make you feel better and make them feel good too.
If you need more help, if you’ve nobody closer to turn to, or you’d just like to be a bit more independent, then there’s lots of other people who can help:
- Call the University admissions office if you need to know what your options are and talk through a few ideas
- Speak to your school teachers and careers advisor – they can help give you some ideas
- Ring TAFE or other training organisations to find out what courses they offer, costs and eligibility (remember to ask about grants or scholarships you can apply for)
- Contact companies you might be interested in working for and see if they have any apprenticeships or entry level job openings you can apply for (they’ll be impressed by your approach)
- If you’re feeling really down about life and can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, then you should also seek help from mental healthcare professionals. See your GP or if you’d prefer something a bit more anonymous then call Beyond Blue, Lifeline, Headspace, ruok or one of the other organisations there specifically to help you out
Remember – nothing is set in stone
You can always go to Uni later in life.
You can study while you work.
You can have a gap year then come back to study or work.
You’re now in control of your life and your future. And you have options.
If you did brilliantly or not, if you know what your next step is or your still unsure – celebrate, because your school days are behind you now and that’s an achievement in itself.
Good luck with your results.