Anxiety? Is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) so important?

With all the hype about getting the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) students need for entry into University courses, students who did not achieve their goal ATAR this week can often feel as if their self-worth is diminished and they can develop anxiety. They tend to draw broad conclusions and their mood can be deflated.

Students need to realise that there are many factors that contribute to that mark and it doesn’t  only represent students’ limitations, and that their dreams of getting into a particular course are over.  It is extremely important that students in this situation learn that there are many alternative pathways to achieve their goal of getting into a particular course. This will help allay their anxiety.

Alternative pathways

If they did not achieve their Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE), students can use their Western Australian Statement of Student Achievement (WASSA) to help them gain employment. For those who really want to get into their desired University course, there are multiple ways to gain entry.

All Universities provide other pathways:

  • Curtin University offers Portfolio entry and run a Step Up to Curtin Scheme, Special Consideration and UniReady enabling programs. The UniReady Program is a short 16 week program to allow students to achieve the admission criteria. Call 1300 222888.
  • Notre Dame offer a personalised admissions process, in which the ATAR is only one element.Phone 9433 0658.Murdoch University offers a UNiReady course. Phone 9360 6000.
  • Edith Cowan University offers a UniPrep course which runs for 16 weeks. Phone 134 328.
  • The University of Western Australia has an AccessUWA course. Call 131 892.
  • Completion of a TAFE Diploma can also assist students into a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other approaches

Alternatively, students can enrol in a course with a lower entry requirement and study units that can count towards the course they want to get into, then re-apply for the course in second Semester or the start of the following year and claim those units as Prior Learning.

Another approach is to take a gap year to travel, and/or work, and apply as a Mature age applicant.

The most important thing is for students to be resilient and persistent and they will reach their goal. They may be a year behind some of their school friends, but they will make new friends, and their school friends, if they are real friends, won’t care that it took an extra year for them to get to where they wanted. They will probably admire your son or daughter’s perseverance, and like them even more!

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