Are you ready to look at your ATAR results? We know – it’s a BIG deal. But, fear not. If per chance you miss out on your first preference this week, it’s NOT (and we repeat NOT) the end of the world. In the 21st century (that’s right now) there are other ways to get there – so read on to find out how!
Let’s step back a bit first.
Congratulations – way to go! All your hard work is about to show for itself – you’ve survived the slog of Year 12 exams and the anticipated wait for your SACE and ATAR results are over. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions for both students and their parents. Maybe you remember a similar feeling as a youngster, jumping from primary school to the big scary world of high school – except this time it’s a little more pivotal. Completing your SACE should bring you an incredible sense of achievement (and a significant certificate to represent 13 years of schooling). This fact alone should be celebrated regardless of your ATAR result.
The release of ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) results is of course an important occasion for school leavers across the country. It’s used by tertiary education providers to determine the admission of prospective students ranked by the culmination of their completed Year 12 subject marks.
Lucky for you though – a lot of peoples’ university journeys don’t start with winning their first preference. They can start in a totally different direction – but all with one thing in common – hard work and commitment will allow you to get there – the journey might just look a little different to what you first thought.
We’ve chatted with a couple of experts in this space – Shaun Harris and Rachel Butterworth – our Murray River Study Hub’s resident student advisors for the Murraylands and Riverland campuses. They’ve answered some of your burning questions and share great advice for students unsure about the next steps towards their dream degree.
So if you’re one of the many students who didn’t initially meet entry requirements for preference numero uno, consider these following points:
Alternative pathway options
Students aren’t always aware of how many options they have. As they say, the world is your oyster. There isn’t one pathway that fits all – each student’s journey is completely individualised depending on their background and what they’re applying for, but don’t let that scare you – think of the big picture outcomes.
If you didn’t quite get the ATAR results required for entry into your first preference, these alternative options can be used as stepping stone to gain entry into your dream degree:
- a TAFE course;
- significant and relevant workplace industry experience;
- a dedicated foundation course (then transfer into your dream degree).
Get in contact with one of our student advisors who can workshop the options with you to help you choose the best move to get closer towards your ideal career.
“The great thing about the Murray River Study Hub is, you will never receive a ‘no’. Our student advisors are qualified career development practitioners with ongoing experience in career planning. We will work with our university partners to offer pathway options suited for each individual student to reach their study goals,” says Rachel.
Tips for dealing with stress during this time
It’s normal to feel disappointed if you didn’t receive the results you were hoping for. Shaun recommends seeking support from the people around you.
“Don’t be afraid to open up to your family, friends, school teachers or a career counsellor. Talking about your stresses can help you understand them better.”
Rachel adds: “If you didn’t receive the score you are seeking, there are always options to move forward. You’re not limited by your ATAR score and have many options to reach the level of study you aspire”.
How to decide on a pathway/degree
“A pathway is just a pathway, not a set destination. One pathway can lead you to somewhere you least expected, and often the best opportunities are from the discoveries you find along the way,” advises Shaun.
When deciding on a pathway, consider your hobbies, aspirations, values, your favourite subjects studied in Year 12, and how tertiary education can help you build on skills you can benefit from.
Choose a degree or a pathway that genuinely interests you, rather than because it sounds glamorous. Consider the major and minor units involved in the degree, and the professional outcomes and opportunities available at the end.
“The MRSH can work with students to help navigate a pathway that suits the individual”.
Nothing is set in stone just yet
If you happen to get your ideal preferences, but think you’re more suited to another degree, you still have time to make a change. Depending on the university, there will be another round of offers.
If you’re still sitting on the fence, you can always have a go at trying a degree. If it’s not what you thought it’d be, apply for a transfer to another degree. Just make sure to make note of the census date so you can withdraw before any fees are applied.
Speaking of fees, studying with the Murray River Study Hub is a financially viable option for those worried about the costs that come with tertiary education – ask us about how you can get help with paying for uni, or look at our FAQ.
You get to stick around your Murraylands or Riverland community for longer instead of packing up and moving in with a roommate in the city. Plus, you don’t have to go through the same challenging experiences as your city counterparts (we’d take the home cooked meals over the incessant instant noodles any day!).
Shaun says: “Changing your mind is normal. Challenging your own thinking and choices is a positive thing. You’re about to enter a world of self-directed learning in which you’ll only get out of it what you put in. So it’s worth dedicating your time to a degree you’ll not only enjoy but will gain a living from in the future.”
Have a gap year if you need more time
Both Shaun and Rachel agree, a gap year with a purpose can be beneficial. This gives students time to reflect, build on workplace experience, grow as an individual and take time to reflect on which pathway to choose. However, a gap year for the sake of it can put your passion for future studies at risk.
If you really need the break, it’s worth doing something proactive that will help your future and build on your skills/experience in a potential field. This could be through a short course, VET course or work.
Most tertiary courses offer a deferment period which can range from anywhere between 6 months to 2 years, depending on the course/degree, although not all courses allow students to defer their place, so it’s best to check.
The brutally honest truth is, not everyone is automatically eligible for entry into their dream degree. BUT – don’t let it stop you from trying to achieve your end goal. The Murray River Study Hub is here to help you begin your journey and get you from where you are now to your ideal career location – just get in touch with one of our student advisors and we’ll start you down that path.
End your year knowing you have opportunities just around the corner – and get excited to start your pathway to your dream degree.
We’ll leave you with this extremely valuable quote from Shaun:
“Be open to what you are about to discover. You will find and seek advice and guidance from many sources. Be prepared to listen and take that learning and apply it to what works for you. It’s your degree, it’s your study and it’s your career into the future.”
Click here to contact one of our student advisors who can support and guide you towards a secure pathway to your dream degree.
Our enrolments are open – click here to check out our selection of courses provided by our education partners, Flinders University, CQUniversity Australia and TAFE SA.