Your ATAR is not dead end: many roads lead to university

University of the Sunshine Coast

The long-anticipated high-school finish line has been crossed; the congratulations and celebrations commenced. Now, the anticipation of the future sets in, awaiting the soon-to-be-released ATAR scores which – you think – will determine your future. It’s an exciting time, though it can also be filled with anxiety, especially if the results aren’t what you hoped for.

It’s important to remember that no one score, grade, or number, will determine your entire educational journey or future successes. There are many ways to reach your study ambitions and find your dream course, with or without a particular ATAR score, and UniSC can help you navigate the journey to get there.

University of the Sunshine Coast education researcher Dr Shelley Davidow said the most important thing to remember at this time, is that “wellbeing comes first”.

“Everyone is suffering from what I call ‘finish line syndrome’, whether it’s getting through Year 12 or getting into the program of choice,” said Dr Davidow, who has extensively studied stress and resilience in the classroom.

“The reality is that young people today will have on average seven careers in their lifetime and have jobs that don’t exist yet so the whole idea of having to decide what you are going to be for the rest of your life when you’re seventeen is a myth. If you come out of school not knowing what you want to do, that is fine.”

“Even if you follow a path after school and down the track you change your mind, that’s okay, too. That’s how the world works now. Very often, you can’t know if you like something until you try it.”

“Even if you follow a path after school and down the track you change your mind, that’s okay, too. That’s how the world works now. Very often, you can’t know if you like something until you try it.”

“The important thing is that wellbeing comes first. Relaxation, deep breathing, mindfulness all have a significant, measurable impact on our bodies and our capacity to function well.”

If you are the parent or carer of a recent high school graduate, you can play a big role in your young person’s wellbeing by reassuring them that this is only the start of their journey, and that while getting a lower ATAR than expected may impact the way they get into university, it certainly doesn’t mean university is out of reach.

Placeholder for embedded video (VC) and talk about webinar with link

Options if your ATAR is lower than expected:

Change preferences

If you get a lower than expected ATAR, you can always change your QTAC preferences. Preferences can be changed up to three times free of charge, however there is a limited window to change preferences after an offer has been made, so we recommend checking the QTAC key dates page.

Tertiary Preparation Pathway TPP

UniSC’s Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) gives students the opportunity to complete up to four free courses (or subjects) and gain direct entry into most UniSC degrees. Through TPP, you can build knowledge and confidence in the subject areas you’ll need for your degree, setting you up to succeed when it’s time to complete your uni degree.

TAFE/vocational studies

You can complete a TAFE/VET qualification to get into university. We’ll assign a selection rank for a completed Certificate III or Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma. You may even receive credit for prior learning, reducing the cost and time on their UniSC degree.

Pathway diplomas

UniSC’s pathway diplomas are another great way for students to get into university if they didn’t get the ATAR they were hoping for. Through a pathway diploma, students will get a taste of university and have something to show for it without the commitment of a full degree program. These diplomas are stand-alone qualifications that will give you direct entry and up to one year’s credit for selected bachelor’s degrees. UniSC offers pathway diplomas in Business Innovation, Creative Industries, Science and Technology, and Social and Human Services.

If you’re unsure which option is best, our friendly Student Central team can help.

/University Public Release. View in full here.