15/12/2016 10:47 AM AEDT | Updated 15/12/2016 11:48 AM AEDT

Waiting For University Results Is Like Waiting For Life To Start

Here's what school leavers should keep in mind when they open their results

Will I get into the course I want?

If going to university is the dream, the time between receiving your results and finding out whether you got into the course you wanted can seem like an eternity.

While a good result can fill a school leaver with joy, a bad result throws what feels like your entire future into question.

With that in mind, the Universities Admission Centre predicted more than 25,000 students would see their results, released Monday, and change their university preferences.

So how important is your UAC, and when can you change it until?

University of Melbourne lecturer in youth studies and education policy Shane Duggan told The Huffington Post Australia now was not a time to panic because less than half of all people offered a university position received it based purely on ATAR results.

Ultimately I chose wrong course because of my result.Shane Duggan

"ATAR is just one tiny piece of the puzzle," Duggan told HuffPost Australia.

"There are five catergories of entry into tertiary admission, and 'ATAR only' accounts for about 40 percent and that really surprises people. They think the ATAR is the be all and end all but there is a significant portion of mature-age or non-school leaving entry, as well as what is called ATAR+ which includes those courses which admit young people on the basis of the ATAR plus additional criteria like support programs and participation-style programs."

Duggan said when he was a school leaver, he didn't make the best choice.

"I went much better than I expected, because initially I didn't think I applied myself very well. I was very fortunate I had fantastic teachers at the public school I attended.

Follow your passions and interests, and success and fulfillment will follow too.Jit Loh

"Ultimately I chose wrong course because of my result. I changed my preference, because I scored higher than my initial preference had indicated, so I decided to go for law, and I got in but I hated law. It just wasn't for me.

"I got through two years and then I transferred out.

"What's really important is no matter what your score is now is the time to really consider what you want to do. It's the window of opportunity to do the research and ask yourself 'Is this where I really want to go? Is it what I'm aiming for? Are there other ways to achieve the next steps?'"

Getty Images/iStockphoto
The best part of university isn't necessarily the learning bit.

The University of Sydney's undergraduate recruitment head Jit Loh agreed, saying a disappointing result shouldn't make you shy away from the course you want.

"Choose a course based on what you enjoy and are passionate about, not because you don't want to 'waste' your ATAR," Loh said.

"Your dreams and goals don't disappear if you don't reach that elusive mark. After one year of full-time study, your university results are what count -- not your ATAR.

"Follow your passions and interests, and success and fulfillment will follow too."

Students who may be disappointed with their results should contact their school or the Post Results and ATAR Service on how to change their higher education preferences, by calling 1800 653 080.