It’s the end of the year and a lot has changed. You’ve gone through all the classes, done all the exams, said goodbye to your friends, cried, laughed, and cried some more. You’ve celebrated finishing school and waited nervously for your final results. Some of you were lucky enough to get the mark you needed and are cheering all the way to university. For the rest, results day came with a lot of fake smiles to satisfy our inquisitive relatives and a lingering sense of disappointment.

This year was tough and there’s no doubt that you put the effort in. But as it stands, school exams are only made to measure certain kinds of intelligence and ignore the plethora of other qualities that can make up a smart, successful person.

The worst thing is you still want to be proud. You want to be proud of yourself for getting through the year and you deserve that much. Mental health is continually becoming a more prominent area of concern amongst youth and much of that is to do with the pressure that mounts when completing final exams.

Just making it through the emotional gauntlet of Year 12 is enough cause for celebration. Problem is, everyone keeps talking about the ATAR like it’s the only thing of value you get from your 13 years of schooling. They keep talking like that number represents the whole of who you are and what you can become. It’s a load of bull.

Sure, the ATAR is used to get some people into uni, but what you might not know is that there are lots of different pathways into tertiary education. There are so many ways to pursue your future career, which means that little number assigned to you is far more insignificant than everyone has made it out be.

In fact, the way education works these days, you can even get a degree without going to uni at all. This is because TAFE NSW is offering bachelor’s degrees that don’t have any ATAR requirements. It’s the best of both worlds where you’re learning in an environment filled with industry experts that want to impart real, practical skills to you which is what TAFE is known best for. But you’re also learning the deeper, theoretical concepts that make up degree-based learning.

Plus, there are smaller class sizes and opportunities for internships and work placements, which means more support to help you succeed outside of the classroom. In fact, TAFE NSW degrees boast an 87% student satisfaction rate, the second highest score compared to all universities across NSW.

Degrees on offer include Business, Early Childhood Education, 3D Art & Animation, Design, Information Technology, Applied Engineering, and more. You can suss out the course guide for their degrees or any of their other 1,200 courses right over here.