Why you don’t need a high ATAR to be successful


“Getting the marks you want and getting the university course or the job you want straight off is the quickest way to get there, but it’s not the only way to get there...so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.” Leigh Sales

You might not believe me, but ten years from now you may not even remember your ATAR. Of course, that doesn’t make the wait for results any less anxiety-inducing. Completing your HSC or VCE is a stressful experience, there’s no doubt about it, but remember this - tests and school don’t define you. Albert Einstein’s teachers told the future genius he was too stupid to be taught, and he even failed his University Entrance Exam before successfully reapplying the following year.

Plenty of people who bombed out in their final year of school went on to win big in life.

The day Michael Brichetto received his shocking HSC result - 33.4, he sold his first house. Rather than taking the well-worn uni path like his mates, Michael ended up buying the real estate agency he worked for, and now co-owns the Carrington Hotel in Katoomba. Doctor Hal Hancock entered his medical career via a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Tasmania, before joining the Navy as a medic, and finally attending university to study medicine. There’s always a way, even if it’s not the most straightforward option. Actor Charlie Cousins was knocked back from the country’s three top drama programs before bagging a spot at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), and going on to appear in The Doctor Blake Mysteries on the ABC. None of these individuals accepted their results as their direction for the future.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, Walt Disney was fired for lacking imagination, and Steve Jobs was dismissed from his own company. The thing about failure is it can reveal new pathways and expose options you hadn’t considered. There’s no need to prematurely consider a career change just because you don’t achieve a 99.95.

Come up with a new plan to work towards your goal.

Can you apply for study as a mature age student, complete a bridging course, undertake an internship, or just travel now, and worry later? An evening course could be a step in the right direction. Consider that most careers for creative people, and those in advertising, business and journalism, won’t depend solely on your ATAR, but your work ethic, determination and passion.

The reality is, whatever your ATAR, there’s plenty of life beyond the HSC and VCE. And it’s pretty darn good.

Need to chat about your options with one of our Personal Education Consultants? Get in touch to make a time.

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