Picking a uni can be tough, especially since you have to do it at that time of the year when all you can think about is all the exams, major works and assignments you’ve got coming up. Especially if you’re aiming for a high ATAR, the pressure can be intense to pick the perfect university and there’s a tonne of different things to consider. Here’s some things you might want to think about when picking where to study.

1. Don’t think you need to ‘use up’ your ATAR

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to ‘use up’ your final mark. If you’ve done really well, the worst thing you can do is let yourself be pressured into a course or uni you’re not actually interested in. You’re not wasting your potential if you start a course with a lower entry score than your final ranking–ATAR cut offs reflect demand; not necessarily prestige or how rigorous the course will be.

2. Don’t stress about what people think you should do

Just because you’re on track to get a 90+ ATAR doesn’t mean you need to give into the pressure of people around you telling you what you should do. When you suck at making decisions and everyone is giving you their thoughts on what you should do, it can be tough to figure out what’s actually important when it comes to picking a uni. We’re here to remind you that while it can be helpful to hear what everyone has to say, it’s also totally okay to ignore it. Plus, there’s always the option of a double degree, so you don’t have to follow a single path. At the end of the day you’re the one that has to pay the fees, take the classes and sit the exams–so make a decision based on what you want.

3. What was the open day like?

The most helpful thing you can do for yourself when picking a uni is to head along to some open days. Going to open days is the easiest way to check out campus facilities, talk to lecturers and get a general vibe for the place.

4. What opportunities are you keen on?

Not all universities are created equal–they each have their own unique qualities and opportunities available to their students. Some universities have amazing research facilities which are perfect if you want to go down a more academic pathway during and after your degree. Others have top notch work experience programs, and some have options to your degree overseas. When choosing a uni you need to think about what’s important to you–do you want the chance to travel, be able to build your social networks, get as much practical work experience as possible or join a sporting team? Once you know what you’re keen on, you can find out what university is going to give you that.

5. Does the uni life suit you?

While things like campus facilities are super important when picking a uni, you have to weigh up whether the culture will suit you. The best way to do this is to go check out the campus, especially the campus accommodation, talk to students, attend the open day and do your research–it’ll pay off.