The disappointment of receiving a lower than expected ATAR or missing out on a main round offer for a dream course can be a time of overwhelming sadness and confusion for many students.
For some, it might seem like you’ll never study the course you had your heart set on -- but it’s important to remember there are other ways to enter university. One of the best ways to get over your disappointment is to research your options and have a plan in place.
Sally Payne, UTS:INSEARCH Associate Dean of Studies, told The Huffington Post Australia there are a range of pathways students can use to enter their dream course.
“They can transfer from another university after the first year of study, completing a Vocation Education and Training (VET) qualification or completing a diploma at a higher education institution such as UTS:INSEARCH. If you have a dream course, I would encourage students to contact your university to learn what entry pathways are suitable,” Payne said.
"For example, if you want to study a Bachelor of Communication at UTS but you miss out on a main round offer, you could study a Diploma of Communication at UTS:INSEARCH. After completing the diploma and achieving the required grade point average, you can then fast track into the second year of the Bachelor of Communication at UTS. Not only do you benefit from the extra support services available but you also don’t lose a year as your diploma is recognised by UTS.”
It’s also possible to use HSC results instead of ATAR to gain entry to a diploma before going on to study at uni.
“What we do at UTS Insearch is use a student’s HSC subject average instead of their ATAR to admit students into our diploma courses. This average is calculated on their best four HSC subject results for non-V.E.T subjects, including English. We use this process as some students do well in several HSC subjects, but their success may not be reflected in their overall ATAR if their results are scaled down,” Payne said.
19 year old student Claudia Siron was deeply disappointed when she didn’t get into her dream university course. She had hoped and planned to study 'Media Arts Production' at UTS but wasn’t successful. But she quickly realised there were other options.
“When I received my ATAR, due to the lack of study of certain subjects and my main devotion to my drama major work which included a seven minute film, I hadn’t properly balanced out my study. But then I discovered there were alternative pathways to film and media courses at several other universities," Siron said.
Siron attended an information night at UTS Insearch and realised she could still follow her dream with its pathway to UTS. She’s now preparing to study Communications, where she’s keen to build up a portfolio and express her creativity.
“I’d like to advise other students to never give up on your dreams! There are other ways to get into the course you have always wanted to get into. You might even learn that what you wanted to do is not exactly what you wanted to do. For example, at Insearch, I know many people who wanted to do journalism or creative writing at UTS next year but then began changing their mind to wanting to study Public Relations or media arts -- because they tried new things and learned something else suited them even better!” Siron said.
“By simply researching alternatives and trying out new things, you might even learn that you love something else or love a whole other course that offers the same content you want to learn. Don't give up on your dream to learn whatever it is and don't be afraid to try new things or take an alternative pathway to that dream. Your ATAR does not define you.”
“ATARs are not the end of the world. The ATAR doesn't define how intelligent of a person you are. I know so many amazing and smart individuals who didn't get the ATAR they needed for their ideal courses. Even myself, I was far off from the course cut-off, but I proved to myself that I am better than giving up and trying hard at what I love.”
Payne’s tips for first year uni:
1.Talk to people in your lectures and tutorials. Don’t be afraid to break the ice. As you go through your degree you may rely on these friends to help you study, compare notes if you miss a lecture or even work together on a group project.
2.When you begin each subject you will be given a subject outline which details what you will be studying in that subject and your modes of assessment. It’s important you read and understand the outline, as it will help you to plan out your semester.
3. Don’t forget you can still ask for help while studying at university if you’re struggling with a concept. Often your lecturer or tutor can point you towards resources that can help you.