So, it’s the big day. ATAR results are in and you’re either flying high or crashing hard and fast right now. But you know what? Either one is okay. Sure, the latter sucks like nothing else, but it while it feels crappy right now, you’ve got to remember that your ATAR doesn’t actually have any influence over your future. And that’s because THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER OPTIONS OUT THERE BESIDES TRADITIONAL UNIVERSITY.

Yes, we know it’s hard to believe, considering all you’ve heard for the past year is how to sort your preferences and prepare yourself academically for university life. It’s like you’re a racehorse and your school has put the blinders over your eyes so all you can see – all you can run towards – is the goal they’ve set.  But, take the blinders off and you realise there’s a whole world of study opportunities out there. And some of them might actually work better for you than university ever could – shock, horror!

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

VET qualifications come in so many shapes and sizes, in almost any vocation you can dream up. While university will limit you to a particular course in a particular faculty, VET courses are super-specialised, and you can start small (i.e. a Cert II) and work your way up to an Advanced Diploma or even a degree. Or you could just jump straight to the degree stage, because most VET courses don’t require an ATAR. Plus, they’re based in practical training, so you’ll get heaps of hands-on experience. You can suss out your local TAFE for all the info.

Apprenticeships & Traineeships

While we’re on the topic of VET, apprenticeships and traineeships are a type of VET training that are almost solely work-based, meaning you’ll do the majority of your learning on the job. It also means you’ll actually be getting paid to get your qualification, and not graduating thousands of dollars in debt. At the end of your course, you’ll be job-ready and likely already have made plenty of connections in the industry (and there are apprenticeships and traineeships in hundreds of industries). Check out our apprenticeship and traineeship section for the deets.

Private Universities & Colleges

Another alternative to university, private uni’s and colleges often go unseen, but there are a bunch of benefits to attending them over traditional university. For starters, they offer higher ed bachelor degrees just like university does.  And often, the whole college will specialise in one particular field, with a whole host of different and highly specialised courses in that industry. So, instead of studying a rather broad ‘Business’ degree at traditional university, you could be going to a business-focussed private uni or college, where you could study courses in Event Management or Sports Management, specifically.

Plus, many don’t require an ATAR for entry – rather they’ll go off an interview, portfolio, or the marks you got in a particular subject.

Studying Online

Another benefit of many private colleges and uni’s, as well as VET providers and even some traditional universities, is that they offer courses and degrees online. This means that you could complete your studies to your own schedule from literally any corner of the world, as long as you have internet. Not many people consider online courses during high school, but it’s the perfect way to study whilst travelling the world or working towards a career. No need to choose between a gap year and studying anymore.

Pathway Programs

So you’re still set on university? Most traditional unis these days have pathway programs for those who didn’t get the ATAR they needed for their course. Pass the program and you’ll usually be able to head straight into a degree. You could even make your own pathway by completing a course at a private uni or TAFE in the area you want to get into, then applying to university with your new qualification.


ATAR be damned – you don’t have to change your study plans for one silly number. There’s a literal smorgasbord of study options out there for you to choose from, so don’t forget to suss them all out before making your decisions.

If private uni sounds like the right choice for you, check out Torrens University. They have schools and courses for a bunch of different industries, including an array of business courses that you can check out here.