What to do when you didn’t get the ATAR you wanted

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HomeBlogWhat to do when you didn’t get the ATAR you wanted
After 2 years of hard work, your ATAR has finally been released! For some people, the mark they saw that morning wasn’t what they wanted, but it’s not the end of the world.
Whether your ATAR was nowhere near what you needed or a few points below, there are actually a lot more pathways to get into uni than you think. You might have to change your plan around but who knows what will happen, you might even find a new passion that you never considered before.
The most important thing is to be flexible, and know that getting straight into the course you want isn’t necessarily the course you’ll decide to stick with. So not getting the mark you needed could be a blessing in disguise.

Changing your degree

If you’re one of those people that have always dreamt of going to a certain uni whether that be The University of Sydney, The University of Melbourne or Monash University and you’re determined not to change, then you might not have to. Why not consider starting a broader degree or one with a lower ATAR requirement and then transferring within the uni at a later date.
Looking at alternative courses may be your ticket into your dream school. Units you complete in one degree can even transfer across and count towards your credit points for your next degree, so don’t consider it a waste of time.
You never know, you might start a degree just because it was the only one you got in to and then realise that you actually love it. That’s one of the perks of uni, once you’re in it’s relatively simple to change courses provided you meet the grade requirements.
Top tip: When looking at degrees with lower ATAR requirements, arts and science degrees are amongst the broadest. They offer a large range of units that could help you decide exactly what you want to major in when and if you do decide to transfer.

Changing your university choice

Some people may have had a plan of what they were going to do at uni for as long as they can remember. Whether it be nursing, engineering, business or law, just because you didn’t get the ATAR for a certain university doesn’t mean you have to let go of that degree altogether.
It might not have even crossed your mind but you could consider universities outside of the major cities. Universities in regional towns often have lower ATAR requirements. Some regional universities can be among the top ranked for particular degrees, for example at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, veterinary science and nursing degrees are highly regarded. These unis are also known to have amazing cultures so it’s really a win win.
If regional university life doesn’t sound like it’s for you, consider a smaller university such as Notre Dame, University of Canberra, Bond University or Charles Darwin as they will usually have lower entry requirements than the top universities due to smaller demand.

Look into TAFE or Vocational Education

Looking into TAFE courses can be more beneficial than you think. They can offer alternative pathways and give you a leg up when starting a university degree. Finding a TAFE course that relates to your desired uni degree could even shorten your undergraduate course as your marks could be transferred across. Some TAFEs have connections with certain universities depending on the area of study.
Top tip: The TAFE NSW site can help you find specific courses that closely relate to what you could study at university as well as listing the universities with TAFE connections.

Keep the degree on your preference list

For a lot of people it might be a situation of feeling so close yet so far away. Although this is incredibly annoying it’s not as bad as you think. Missing out on the mark cutoff doesn’t mean that you have lost all chances of getting accepted into the course or the uni that you want to go to.
Many universities will accept students below the cutoff. If you look at the UAC book it will outline the lowest ATAR they accepted into every course for every uni for the previous year. From here you can get an idea if you have a good chance or not.
Don’t forget that there are multiple rounds for university offers, so if you don’t get an offer for your first preference in the first round, don’t take it off your list - because you might get an offer in the next round. In saying this, be careful with the requirements of any offer and be mindful of final dates to accept your offer, as you don’t want to lose a spot in a backup degree and then miss out on getting your first preference.
Our Ultimate School Leavers Guide has information to help you understand everything from studying part time vs full time. It includes an in-depth comparison of the alternative study options to uni. Check out the Ultimate School Leavers Guide to get the inside scoop before you decide your next step.
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