With the application period fast approaching, we're on a mission to set straight any untruths that may be troubling your mind. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised.
Myth 1: If you don't get the right ATAR you can't go to uni
Contrary to popular belief, there is much more to getting into university than your ATAR. For many school leavers, the ATAR they receive is their main ticket into university, but rest assured there are many more routes to your course and career if it's not high enough. For example, some courses place a higher importance on an audition, portfolio or interview. Many institutions also consider work experience, passion for the field or overall aptitude, giving applicants the opportunity to complete a supplementary aptitude test or personal essay. If this is not an option, then a foundation course can provide you with an alternative pathway into your degree, often with credit. You may also be eligible for bonus point or special consideration schemes if you suffered any sort of disadvantage over your schooling that affected your performance. Also remember that mature age students are subjected to a different set of entry requirements, so their ATAR might not even be a blip on the radar. See Getting into a course for more information.
Myth 2: If you don't get into uni, your life is over
Don't limit your study options to universities. TAFE institutes and private providers offer a range of vocational courses that you can use as a pathway into a degree at university — in some cases you will even be credited for the VET studies you complete, which means that VET pathways can provide a quicker option than some would have you believe. And don't forget that going to university isn't the only way to get a degree. A number of TAFE institutes and private providers also offer degrees, many of which have more flexible entry requirements than universities and often a more practical focus. See Pathways into your course for more information.
Myth 3: If you don't complete the right prerequisite subjects you can't go to uni
Prerequisite subjects provide you with the knowledge that is needed to undertake your course. Without the right background knowledge, your ability to understand, enjoy and participate in your course could be affected. With that said, if you're looking to enter university years after leaving school or if you change your mind and decide to apply for a different course at the last minute, many universities offer bridging subjects and preparatory courses to get you up to speed. These can often be undertaken in intensive classes the week before your course begins.
Myth 4: You have to go to the most prestigious university
Many students aspire to attend the universities with the longest and most prestigious histories without considering the here and now: which university offers the best preparation in your field. A university you haven't even considered might excel in teaching your course or have strong ties with the industry, so make sure you investigate every institution that offers courses in your field and find out what sets them apart — perhaps it's the facilities on campus or opportunities for work-integrated learning throughout the course. You might even find that a TAFE institute or private provider offers the best course for your needs. Also consider which institution will provide you with the best experience, as the student support and atmosphere can really make a difference. See Choosing an institution for more information.
Myth 5: If you get a high ATAR, you have to do a prestigious course
Many high-achieving students make the mistake of choosing the most competitive and prestigious courses simply because they can. Completing a degree required years of dedication and hard work, which can be very difficult to justify if you like the idea of a course rather than the course itself. The most important thing is to choose a course that interests you and leads to a career that you can see yourself enjoying. See Choosing a course for some tips on how to choose the right course for you.
Myth 6: If you don't finish school you can't go to uni
Believe it or not, those who leave school before finishing Year 12 have plenty of options to study later in life if they choose. While leaving school early may have implications on your future, it isn't necessarily a once-and-for-all decision to end your education. You can work your way up to university through a basic VET qualification, qualify for degree entry based on years of relevant work experience, or enter a foundation course that is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to succeed at university.