Busting the ATAR Myth

Detuning Expectations

ATAR is a ranking not an indicator of your ability to succeed at university.

As experienced educators, we have first-hand experience of the university admission process within Australia and at many overseas institutions. In Australia, the ATAR provides tertiary institutions with a guide to academic ability but it is not a true indicator of your ability to succeed at university.

Tertiary providers are also increasingly recognising the value of other personal attributes held by a student. Many courses now provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their suitability using a multi-selection process which can include an audition, portfolio, interview and/or aptitude test, as well as awards and achievements to date.

Achieving your desired ATAR provides you with the path of least resistance to your first choice of course. However, your ATAR is only one way to gain entry to a tertiary course. There are now many other study pathways for a chosen career.

In 2021, it is anticipated tertiary institutions will adopt a radically different approach to their admissions process. This much needed overhaul may even be the catalyst for future change in which we will see the ATAR form only one component of the entry process.  Many universities this year have been proactive and used the early entry admission process to get an edge on their competition to counter the significant reduction in international student fees they are facing. 

For the Class of 2020, the ATAR alone will not be dispositive when seeking entry to a tertiary institution; other factors will be taken into account. It is undisputed that this year of study for VCE and IB students has been adversely affected. If you have been impacted by events this year or even now during the exam period then speak up and get the right procedures in place so that there is an official record and appropriate documentation. We have been a part of many university admission panels and it is this documentation that allows the panel to make an informed decision about entry when the ATAR has not been met.

Finally, remember your future is not defined by your ATAR and you do not need to share your ATAR with anyone. When asked by family, friends or peers about your ATAR you need only reply "I am happy with what I achieved" or "I received what I needed to get into my course".

One silver lining that has resulted from the challenges with learning this year is that you have upskilled in a significant way to become an accomplished self directed learner. This new found skill will be to your advantage when embarking on tertiary study.

You've got this.....this year is almost done.

By Sonia Francis, Founder | Director | Avivo Elite Tutoring