WHILE many of their 50,000 counterparts across the state were sweating on their university entrance ranks at seconds to 9am today, Sarah Wood, Ben Crocker and Brandy Carmichael slept in.
Thanks to careful planning and consistent effort, these Tamworth High School Year 12 students already knew they were into the uni course they wanted, regardless of their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).
They, and most of their 30-odd yearmates planning to go to uni, had already received offers from up to seven institutions through the Schools Recommendation Scheme (SRS) – some of them even before sitting their HSC exams.
The ATAR measures a student's achievement in the HSC compared to that of others, and helps unis select which students to accept into their courses.
However, year adviser Steve Porter said that of the roughly 55 students in the THS class of 2016, about 30 wanted to go to uni and about 25 of them had received uni offers under SRS.
He said it was well worth the preparation, which involved an online application or interview, plus a citation from the school and previous exam results.
“Most had early entry, most were in regardless of their ATARs, and it was actually the course they wanted,” Mr Porter said.
Sarah, 17, will do a double degree in arts and science at Macquarie University, Sydney, after a gap year to save up. She’d like to get into science journalism.
Her ATAR was 72, higher than she expected, and her exams “went well”.
“I didn’t get stressed out about it. I enjoyed it – well, it wasn’t bad,” Sarah said.
Ben, 18, will go to the University of Newcastle for a bachelor of visual communication design, with a view to maybe working in graphic design, also after a gap year to “work for a bit and maybe chill out for a while”. His ATAR was 80, which said “genuinely surprised” him.
Brandy, 18, has an ATAR of 82.4; she’ll start at Macquarie next year for a double degree in primary education and arts, with a major in psychology. She received uni offers before even starting her exams.
“I’ve had offers all the way up until today – I’m still getting offers. I’ve had about seven …there was no pressure at all [during the HSC exams], it was ‘I’m already in, I’m into the degree I want’.”
Mr Porter said an ATAR was just a means to an end, and applying for SRS was another great means.
“I think that’s the key to reduce a bit of the stress – you know you’re getting in on the SRS scheme and it really takes the pressure off,” he said.
“The bottom line is, this is just a mechanism to get into uni or get them to the job they want to achieve … the ATARs are only a means to an end.”