While the 2018 Year 12 students received their Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) in late December, some were pleased, accepted their university places and are getting prepared for study, others may still be disappointed and undecided on what the future holds.
One issue that is a key concern for students is receiving a lower than expected ATAR – they may have missed out on direct entry to their preferred courses and be unsure of the alternate pathways to university. Teachers play a role in helping these students find a tertiary pathway which can allow them to access their preferred course, and ultimately, a promising career.
Reassure students that options are available
Not all students will be aware of options to enter university. Pathways can be a great way to help students start the journey. According to the Mitchell Institute, only 25 per cent of students are admitted to university solely on their ATAR. Non-ATAR based pathways to university are well respected institutions and many offer alternate opportunities to enter a dream degree or career.
Importance of support for success in first year
Developing a sense of belonging, and access to personalised support are important for students who are still developing their confidence and skills as independent learners.
To create a sense of belonging on campus, encourage students to join social clubs at university and to create friendships that will help them ‘stick’ at their studies. Students can also participate in social activities during university orientation and preparation weeks.
Support services can play an important role in students’ academic success. Students who are still developing their study skills and working at becoming independent learners generally benefit from one-on-one learning support sessions, access to academic advisers, and councillors to help them address any challenges.
Teachers can help students look for programs which offer personalised learning support and opportunities to build core skills. Academic Advisers can talk about the students’ future study plan and grades, elective subject choices, attendance and progress and any other problems areas including stress, time management or personal issues.
Students can also participate in university peer mentoring programs. These programs mutually benefit both peer mentors and students by building a sense of capability and connection to the academic community. Past successful students are selected by teachers through a rigorous referral process and then trained to support current students by helping with their learning in class, whilst developing their own communication and leadership skills at the same time.
Research the options
Each university has different offerings and different dates for applications and enrolment, so students should be researching the cut-off dates and details for their preferred courses as early as possible.
To find out more, direct students to webinars and online chats session run by universities and educational institutions to discuss pathway-relevant topics. Students should try to visit campus information days and take the time to explore the facilities and ask questions to ensure they are choosing options that will suit them.
While receiving a disappointing ATAR may be a tough experience for some students, you can help them overcome the challenge and find the right pathway and educational support to help them thrive.
Tim Laurence is Dean of Studies at UTS Insearch – the university’s pathways provider.Do you have an idea for a story?
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