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Tips to remember on ATAR release day

About to finish Year 12? Nervous about ATAR release day? Let’s be honest, waiting to find out the single score that’s supposed to define your future isn’t fun.

At Study Work Grow, we believe that you should be judged on everything you’ve done and the person you’ve become, rather than one little number.

In a few months, you’ll be off at uni or TAFE, working, or even backpacking around some far flung part of the world and no one will either know or care what you got for your ATAR. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop you from worrying right now. So here’s our key tips for retaining your sanity on ATAR release day.

You don’t have to know what you want to do yet

When you leave school, a whole world of options open up in front of you. There are a few paths you can walk down that may seem quite different, but the truth is that all of them intersect, and it’s even possible to jump from one to another if you want.

Say you want to go to uni – you did well at school, you want to keep learning, and you have a few favourite subjects…but you’re not quite sure how they translate into a career yet.

You can always pick something that lets you choose from a range of different subjects, and narrow it down after a couple of semesters. Don’t choose not to go to uni, just because you don’t know what you want to do yet – you have plenty of time to work that out later.

Want to get a trade or go to TAFE? Fantastic; there are literally thousands of vocational courses you can choose from. You can sign up for pre-apprenticeship courses, try as many as you like, and eventually find something you love – whether it’s baking, painting, electrical, automotive, or beauty therapy.

Get a part-time job if you need to, and have a go at anything that sparks your interest in your spare time. Sure, it’s not as ‘neat and tidy’ as just picking something, but there’s way less pressure and you’re more likely to enjoy yourself. Plus, you’ll have tonnes of experience for your resume.

The point here is that you don’t need to have your whole life neatly planned out at 18 years old. And even if you do, chances are you’ll find yourself changing your mind or falling into unexpected opportunities down the track. Don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis.

If you don’t get the ATAR you want, you still have options to achieve your goals

If your ATAR won’t get into your dream course, it’s not the end. We cannot overstate this – there are a hundred and one ways to get into just about every course, including:

  • Picking something else that’s related, then transferring across.
  • Applying directly for alternative entry.
  • Going to another uni with lower entry requirements – you might find it’s better there anyway.
  • Working for 12 months first. Do a heap of short courses, get work experience, network in your community, volunteer, then apply again at the end of next year.

The ranks of mature age students are growing by the year. Lots of people leave school, work for a while, then end up going back to study later on. Think outside the box and you could be surprised where you end up.

Your ATAR does not reflect who you are as a person

One number cannot define you or who you are. If you have an incredible ATAR, but no interpersonal skills, extra-curricular activities, or work experience, it won’t be enough to get you hired. Many high-achieving students often fall into the trap of focusing solely on their studies and neglecting other aspects of their life, which can sometimes undermine a fantastic ATAR.

Conversely, if you’ve worked hard at school and have reports that reflect your effort, you can easily combat a low ATAR. Get letters of recommendation from your teachers (or principal if you can). Taking on leadership positions at school, volunteering, being involved in sports and clubs, and presenting yourself well can go a really long way when it comes to impressing both universities and employers.

You’re not alone

This is a stressful time, so rely on the people who care about you. There are lots of people who are ready to help right now, and once you get your results, there are a huge range of resources you can take advantage of.

  • Reach out to family and friends. They know that even if you’re expecting a good score this is a hard time, and would love to be there for you.
  • Get in touch with your preferred uni. Once you’ve got your score, many institutions hold post-ATAR info sessions where you can ask questions and find out about your options, even if you didn’t get the score you wanted.
  • There are lots of support services available as well. Youth Beyond Blue are just one group who will be there if you need someone to talk to.

Good luck!

We wish you all the best of luck on ATAR release day and hope you get the results you’ve been working hard for. And remember – no matter what your score looks like, you always have options.

You can find heaps more resources on further study, careers and jobs, alternative pathways, study and health, and much more on our website here.

Need help? Support is available


If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 000.

Urgent Help
Lifeline: Call 13 19 40 | Text 0477 13 11 14 |
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 |
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 |

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 |

First Nations
13YARN: 13 92 76 |
Thirrili: 1800 805 801 |

Domestic Violence
1800RESPECT: 1800 737 732 |

QLife: 1800 184 527 |

Open Arms: 1800 011 046 |


If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 111.

Urgent Help
Lifeline: Call 0800 543 354 | Text 4357 |
TAUTOKO Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 |
Need to Talk?: 1737 |

Youthline: Call 0800 376 633 | Text 234 |
What’s Up: 0800 942 8787 |

Older People
Seniorline: 0800 725 463 |

Domestic Violence
Shine: 0508 744 633 |

He Waka Tapu: 0800 439 252 |

OutLine: 0800 688 5463 |

Māori & Pasifika
Vaka Tautua: 0800 652 535 |
Whetu Helpline: 0800 494 388 |

Asian Family Services: 0800 862 342 |


If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 999.

Urgent Help
Samaritans: 116 123 |
SANEline: 0300 304 7000 |
Shout Crisis Text Line: Text SHOUT to 85258 |

Samaritans Welsh: 0808 164 0123 |
C.A.L.L.: Call 0800 132 737 | Text HELP to 81066 |

Older People
Age UK: 0800 678 1602 |
Age Cymru: 0300 303 44 98 |

Domestic Violence
Juno Women’s Aid: 0808 800 0340 |
Men Standing Up Helpline: 0300 3030 167 |

Switchboard: 0800 0119 100 |
Galop LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline: 020 7704 2040

Immigrants & Refugees
Barnardo’s Boloh Helpline (for asylum seekers): 0800 151 2605 |
Migrant Help UK: 0808 801 0503 |

Muslim Youth Helpline: 0808 808 2008
EYST Wales: 0808 801 0720


If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 999 or 112.

Urgent Help
Samaritans: 116 123
Pieta: 1800 247 247
Text About It: Text HELLO to 50808

Childline: 1800 66 66 66
Teenline: 1800 833 634

Older People
ALONE: 0818 222 024
Senior Line: 1800 804 591

Domestic Violence
Women’s Aid: 1800 341 900
Men’s Aid Ireland: 01 554 3811

LGBT Ireland: 1890 929 539
The Switchboard: 01 872 1055

Immigrants & Refugees
Immigrant Council of Ireland: 01 674 0200

Cairde: 01 855 2111


If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 911.

Urgent Help
Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741 741
NAMI Hotline: 800 950 6264

The Youthline: 877 968 8491
Teen Line: 800 852 8336

First Nations
Crisis Line for Racial Equity: 503 575 3764
StrongHearts Helpline: 1 844 762 8483

Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1 800 799 7233
STAND!: 888 215 5555

The Trevor Project: 1 866 488 7386
The Trans Lifeline: 1 877 565 8860

Immigrants & Refugees
National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: 1 510 465 1984

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 888 628 9454


If you are in an emergency situation or need immediate assistance, always call 911.

Urgent Help
Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: 988
Talk Suicide: 1 833 456 4566
The Listening Ear Crisis Hotline: 517 337 1717

Kids Help Phone: 1 800 668 6868
Or text CONNECT to 686868

First Nations
Hope for Wellness: 1 855 242 3310
Or chat online at

Domestic Violence
Family Violence Info Line: 780 310 1818
Fem’aide (French): 1 877 336 2433

LGBT National Hotline: 1 888 843 4564
The Trans Lifeline: 1 877 330 6366

Immigrants & Refugees
Refugee HealthLine: 1 866 286 4770

Multicultural Mental Health Resource Centre:


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