As ATAR Release Day approaches, bear these points in mind
Just finished Year 12? Nervous about your ATAR?
Let’s do some deep breathing together –
It’s normal to feel stressed out
Let’s be honest, waiting to find out the single score that’s supposed to define your future isn’t fun.
At Study Work Grow we believe that you should be judged on everything you’ve done and the person you’ve become, rather than one little number.
In a few months, you’ll be off at uni or TAFE, working, or even backpacking around some far flung part of the world and no one will either know or care what you got for your ATAR.
BUT… that doesn’t stop you from worrying right now.
So, here’s our key tips for retaining your sanity
Sanity Tip 1 – You don’t have to know what you want to do yet
When you leave school a whole world of options opens up in front of you. There are a few paths you can walk down that may seem quite different, but the truth is that all of them intersect, and it is possible to jump from one to another if you want.
Say you want to go to uni – great, you’ve done well at school and you’d like to keep learning, and you have a few favourite subjects, but you’re not quite sure how they translate into a career yet. Ok, so pick something that lets you choose from a range of different subjects, and narrow it down after a couple of semesters. Don’t choose not to go to uni, just because you don’t know what you want to do yet – you’ve got plenty of time to work that out later.
Want to get a trade or go to TAFE ? Fantastic, there are literally thousands of vocational courses you can choose from. You can sign up for pre-apprenticeship courses, that way you can try as many as you like until you find something you love. Baking, painting, electrical, automotive, beauty therapy. Get a job part time if you need to, and have a go at anything that sparks your interest in your spare time. Yeah, it’s not as ‘neat and tidy’ as just picking something, but there’s way less pressure and you’re likely to find your dream job. Plus, you’ll have tonnes of experience for your resume.
The point here is that you aren’t supposed to have your life all neatly planned out at 18 years old. Take it from us, the people who do, they’re the anomalies. And even if you did, I would put money on it turning out completely differently. Don’t fall victim to Analysis Paralysis.
Sanity Tip 2 – If you don’t get the ATAR you want, you still have options to achieve your goals
If your ATAR won’t let you get into your dream course IT IS NOT THE END. I cannot overstate this – there are a hundred and one ways to get into just about every course.
- Pick something else that’s related, then transfer across
- Apply directly to the uni for alternative entry
- Go to another uni without the restrictive marks – you might find it’s better there anyway
- Work for 12 months first. Do a heap of short courses, get work experience, network in your community, volunteer. Then apply again at the end of next year
The ranks of mature age students are growing by the year. Lots of people leave school, work for a while, then end up going back to uni later on to do what they really love. Think outside the box and you could be surprised where you end up.
Sanity Tip 3 – Your ATAR is just one tiny part of your resume it does NOT reflect who you are as a person
One little number cannot define you or who you are. If you have an incredible ATAR, but no interpersonal skills, extra-curricular activities or work experience it won’t be enough to get you hired. Many high-achieving students don’t know how to proofread, so spelling mistakes or grammatical errors can be enough to undermine a fantastic ATAR.
Conversely, if you’ve worked hard at school and have reports that reflect your effort, you can easily combat a low ATAR. Get letters of recommendation from your teachers (or Principal if you can). Taking on leadership positions at school, volunteering, being involved in sport or art and presenting yourself well can go a really long way when it comes to impressing uni’s and employers.
Sanity Tip 4 – You’re not alone
It’s a stressful time, so rely on the people who care about you. There are lots of people who are ready to help right now, and once you get your results there are a huge range of resources you can take advantage of.
- Reach out to family and friends. They know that even if you’re expecting a good score this is a hard time, and would love to be there for you.
- Get in touch with your preferred uni. Once you’ve got your score, many institutions, colleges and universities hold post-ATAR sessions where you can ask questions and find out about your options, even if you didn’t get the score you wanted.
- There are lots of mental support services available as well. Youth Beyond Blue are just one group who will be there if you need someone to talk to.
We wish you all the best of luck on ATAR Release Day and hope you get the results you’ve been working hard for.
And remember – no matter what your score looks like – you have options.