High School

Why Your ATAR Isn’t A True Measure Of Your Success

words by Ben | photo by @natalieliow_

In just a few short weeks, you’re going to be perched on the edge of your bed at the crack of dawn, having not slept all night, waiting for that dreaded number to pop up on your screen.

Your ATAR may exceed your wildest expectations or it could make you wish you could crawl back into bed and sleep for a least a year.

Whatever happens, you’ll probably be emotional; we reckon that’s fair enough since you’re probably thinking that your ATAR is the only thing you’re going to be taking away from 13 years of school. But we’re here to let you know that even though it can feel like your entire academic experience has been building up to that number, it’s actually not that important.

The truth is, you are good at something and your talents in other areas are just as important as any academic abilities.

Don’t let school tell you that you are somehow lesser because your talents can’t be worked out with a formula or marked after a two hour exam. Don’t let yourself think that because your abilities can’t be measured on a marking rubric, then collated and compared, that they’re not important or that you’re less any intelligent.

And above everything, don’t let your life be dictated by that number. Take a year off if you need to. Work your butt off. Book a flight to wherever you’ve always wanted to go. Travel around, make experiences, find new friends. A full life will follow you far longer than the ATAR will.

Regardless of what your ATAR is, you have options.

Your ATAR is literally just a measure of how well you can regurgitate content in an exam. It won’t tell you how creative you are, how all your friends rely on you or how much you make everyone laugh. And these are things that are much more important to your success than an arbitrary ranking.

Some of your skills and achievements will never intersect with how your ATAR is decided, so if your ATAR isn’t solid, flaunt what you got.

You’re good at sports? Keep playing, even if all it does is make you happy. Like reading and writing? Show people you do, get your work out there. Look for entry schemes, bonus points, whatever you need to do. Send your resumes to people, do work experience, Google the hell out of your dream job and talk to people who are doing cool shit.

Your ATAR is just a stepping stone to greater things and, if you don’t have that stepping stone, all you need to do is jump.