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Students getting advice at Info Day

What if I get a lower ATAR than I expected?

14 December 2017
3 things to do if you don’t get the results you were hoping for

Getting a lower than expected ATAR isn't the end of the world, so don't worry - there are always other pathways to your dream course or career.

The Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) has changed the close of preferences key date this year – that means you don't have much time to make your decision after you receive your ATAR. You should have a backup plan up your sleeve, so you know what to decide. 

1. Understand your options

Follow our ATAR diagram to explore all the available options.

If you miss out on your first preference – don’t panic! The first step is to understand your options. This year, we have introduced fixed ATARs for most of our courses, to help remove uncertainty about what is required for entry into our undergraduate courses.

There is another opportunity for you to study the subjects you love at Sydney in another degree. Our Sydney Undergraduate Experience gives you the flexibility to study the same subjects across different courses, through our shared pool of majors and minors. You can mix and match over 90 subjects from different areas of interests.

If you had experienced significant disadvantage during Year 12, our alternative pathways schemes could help you gain entry into your dream course.

"I was fortunate enough to gain entry via the Broadway Scheme, which provided me an ATAR concession, into a Bachelor of Combined Law/Commerce at the University. For me, my alternative entry into the University allowed me to study my passions from day one. Having now completed three years at the University, I have constantly benefited from the vast array of support (both academically and socially) and opportunities provided to alternative entry students at Sydney.” said Duncan Robertson, third-year student of Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws.

2. Seek advice

You’re not alone and we are here to help. Seek advice from your family, friends and careers advisers, and get as much information as you can to help you make the informed decision before close of preferences at midnight on 17 December.

Talk to us at Info Day on 16 December. Our staff and students are on hand to answer your questions on anything from majors to alternative pathways, as well as help you finalise your preferences. Write down a list of questions you have so that you can tick them off on the day. Here are a few suggested questions to ask:

  • What subjects are on offer in my degree?
  • What is a fixed ATAR and what happens if I don’t meet it?
  • What approximate mark would I need if I wanted to transfer after my first year of study?
  • How do I apply for late consideration under the Broadway (EAS) scheme?
  • If I don’t get into to the undergraduate degree, will there be graduate entry option available?

3. Keep things in perspective

It is not the end of the world if you don’t get the marks you were hoping for. Your ATAR does not define you or who you will become. No matter which pathways you take towards your end goal, remember to work hard and make the most of it.

Remember you will always find ways to study what you love – your ATAR is just one of them. 

A student's ATAR will always be a reflection of not only one's academic ability, but also the circumstances that one is exposed to throughout their high school years. I have always found it reassuring and inspiring to know that the University of Sydney has been, and continues to be, extremely understanding and compassionate towards all students and their unique, sometimes challenging, circumstances.
Duncan Robertson, Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws