A note on our old friend: the ATAR

ATAR day, or what I like to call “judgement day”. A day we will, according to many, never forget. Or will we?

ATAR day is a day most of us dread yet also a day most of us secretly really look forward to. It’s a day we’ve spent the better part of our lives (or so it feels like it) working towards.

For some, it’s a day of pure relief and joy while for others it’s a day of disappointment and confusion.

But it shouldn’t be. The importance of this day is seriously overemphasised.

The four digits we receive on this day are merely a speck of dust on the path we’ve been carving for our self for years, yet we treat it like a 24-hour road block.

I myself, am a prime example. As a graduating student I believed that the ATAR I received would define me and that it would dictate my entire life moving forward. I was so terrified of judgement and of failure that I spent the month leading up to ATAR day telling everyone I knew that I wasn’t even going to look at my marks so they shouldn’t bother wasting their time asking me what I got. What I thought I was failing at, I actually still have no idea.

ATAR day came and my curiosity got the better of me (surprise surprise). A whole month’s preaching went out the door as I ran to share the news with friends and family.

I let my ATAR define me within a matter of seconds. I immediately logged into UAC and changed my course preferences, god forbid I waste a single mark! I left my interests and passions behind in favour of 4 random numbers.

It took the entire length of my gap year to finally decide that this was probably a silly thing to do. It took me an entire year to realise that to study something for the sake of ‘using marks’ instead of studying something I love was really really dumb.

So once again, I logged into UAC and changed my preferences.

projectHUNI wishes all year 12 students across the state the best of luck today as they receive their ATAR’s.

Many of you may be thinking well great if you’ve got room to move, but what if I didn’t get the mark I was after? What if I didn’t get enough marks to, as you say, study what I love?

If this is you, I challenge you to be creative.

Naturally multi-faceted and flexible, it is our interests and passions that can be applied in thousands of ways. Think about what it is you really love, what’s at its core? Now think of at least 10 different ways you can engage with this interest (sounds hard but trust me, totally possible). You may even like to try combining multiple interests. Once you’ve done this, start looking into some courses that not only draw on your interests but give you the skills to chase them.

Still confused? Let the Course Resource* help you.

The bottom line is this: regardless of the four digits you receive today, the sun will rise tomorrow and you will continue to; as you have done for years; carve a path for yourself.

While some of us choose to bury immediately the memories of ATAR day simply because they are awfully unpleasant, some of us will, overtime, just forget as we gradually sway back towards the things we love.


*The Course Resource by projectHUNI allows students to search for their course via interest rather than the narrow criteria of ATAR and institution.