The time has come, after 13 years of school, you have finally received your ATAR. It’s a strange feeling seeing that number pop up on your screen and whether you’re happy, sad, excited or relieved - at least it’s finally over.
Contrary to what your teachers have been hounding you about all year, your ATAR doesn’t define you or your future. The ATAR really only affects the next step you want to take. Whether it be taking a gap year, continuing your education or getting a full time job.
This choice is probably one of the first big decisions you’ll make, but we’re here to help you consider your options and choose what’s right for you.
Take a year off
You’ve just finished 13 years of school and continuing your education could be the last thing you want to do - and you’re not alone. Gap years are very popular in Australia with kids taking time to travel the world, do seasonal jobs, volunteer abroad or just take a relaxing break.
Whether you plan to continue studying after your year off or not, a gap year can have a massive impact on your life allowing you to broaden your perspective and gain invaluable life skills that you might not get from going straight into uni.
A gap year doesn’t necessarily mean packing your bags and travelling the world for the whole year. A gap year could be working, pursuing personal interests or getting involved in cultural exchanges.
Continue your education
For some people this is a no brainer, you know what you want to do and continuing your education is how you are going to get there. Now that you have finally got your ATAR you can take the next step and apply for university or TAFE.
However, it might not be that simple. You might have had a set course you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t get the ATAR for it - don’t panic! It’s not the end of the world and there are always other ways to get into the degree you want. Whether that be changing your degree options or looking into other universities.
If you were lucky enough to get an ATAR that meets the requirement for your dream course, congratulations!! Just keep in mind that when you are applying for universities don’t just put in the uni you want to go to and leave the other options blank. Even though you got the mark for a specific uni, you are not guaranteed a place there, so it’s important that you have backup universities and courses in your application.
Get a job
Higher education is not for everyone, lots of people get a job as soon as they finish school.
Not all career paths require a qualification or university degree so getting a job after high school may be the next best step. Going straight into the workforce can build experience and give you an ongoing income stream. You can work your way up within an industry and end up just as or more successful than your peers who went into further education.
You may want to end up in a career where most people have a university degree, but there’s always a way around it. If you know what you want to do but uni isn’t for you, working straight out of high school can be extremely beneficial. You might want to try and get an entry level job in the industry you love and over the years you can slowly work your way up.
A little tip, if this sounds like you, is to talk to people. You never know who knows someone in the industry you want to end up in so ask around, grow your network, and don’t be afraid to talk about where you want to end up.
And if you’re thinking of getting a job don’t forget to get your super organised before you start work. Both Student Super
and Professional Super
charge zero fees on zero balances, so you can open an account before you start work. They’re also fee free for balances under $1,000, helping you get a head start with your super.