Tertiary rankings are out for Year 12 students and they're being reminded their ATAR is not the only pathway.
By
Brianna Roberts and Greg Dyett

Source:
SBS News
16 Dec 2016 - 9:11 PM  UPDATED 16 Dec 2016 - 11:32 PM

The Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranks, or ATARs, are out for high-school students around Australia.

But while a high score opens up options for university studies, graduating students are being reminded it is not the only pathway.

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Sydney Boys High School student David Kim aims high.

He scored an ATAR of 99.9, but, for him, that is still five-hundredths short of the perfect mark he had hoped for.

"It kind of stinks, because it (99.95) was what I wanted. But, in the end, I'm very happy with my result.

"I'm looking to do engineering, and majoring in mechatronics. I think that has a big future, especially with smarter technology coming out."

 As a migrant, he told SBS News he feels lucky to be getting an education in Australia.

"Moving here from South Korea, I've always been aware of the opportunity I've been granted, how privileged I am to have been able to move to Australia. So I always try to do my best, because the opportunities here are endless."

He is one of 55,000 students who received their ATARs marking the culmination of their high school studies.

While male students did better in the top-tier results, the Universities Admission Centre said female students did better on average.

The centre said, of 46 students who received the top ATAR of 99.95, 33 were male.

But it said the average ATAR for girls was more than 70, well above the boys' average that sat at more than 66.

Another Sydney student, Brandon Morgan, earned an ATAR of 90.35 that gained him a scholarship to pursue a commerce degree.

The Prairiewood High School graduate said he hopes to set a positive example for others.

"I'm Aboriginal and Lebanese, and I'm very proud of that, and I want to be a good role model there for my younger cousins and things like that, show them that it is achievable," he said.

For students who did not get the scores they wanted, there is a reminder that there may be other pathways to the courses they want.

That is the message from the University of Sydney's head of student recruitment, Michelle Carlin.

"If you woke up this morning and you didn't get the mark that you wanted, don't worry about it. Don't panic. The main thing is to pick a subject, pick an area, that you're really interested in and that you know that you can do good at, because you can always transfer after a year.

"You come into university to learn how to learn and learn about yourself, and, you know, it can set you up for life."