Everyone had at least one moment at school where a teacher or headmaster would say something along the lines of “this is the most important thing you’ll learn here.” And not to discredit whatever it was that they told you, there is something that they probably forgot to mention. Whether they did it intentionally or not, we’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Your ATAR is more important to your school than you.

We’ve already written enough articles about how you need to relax when you’re in year 12 and that results aren’t everything, and while this is important, it isn’t what this article is about. We want to drop some truth bombs on you to give you some perspective about education and to show you the whole picture, not just the one that is painted in front of you.

In the simplest terms, high schools, both public or private, are just like any other business: they are results based. Just like a CEO can be fired because his company underperforming, school teachers, benefactors and administrators are judged on how their students perform, especially in their final exams.

We live in a society where high schools are ranked nation-wide by how their students perform in their final exams. At the end of the day, their goal is to make sure every student has the highest mark possible. Ultimately this is a good thing, until you take step back and realise that all this pressure to get the best ATAR possible makes students feel like it is the most important thing in the world as well.

And then you finish your exams, you get your ATAR and suddenly, the school doesn’t care about you anymore because they’re already focused on achieving the highest marks from the next year group. This is all fine for the people who get the marks they needed to get into uni, but for those who didn’t, many sit there and see themselves as failures because they didn’t get a mark that actually means nothing.

Seems a bit ridiculous doesn’t it?

So what’s the solution to this truth? Work your arse off, but do it for you, not so your school gets in The Australian. And if you don’t get the mark, take a step back and say to yourself “I couldn’t have worked any harder, but it’s not the end of the world.”

And it’s really not, you have so many options. Perhaps the most under-utilised tool in entering tertiary education is through pathway and bridging courses. 17-year-olds are programmed to think that not getting a certain mark is the end of the world, when really all it means is they have to take one extra step to get into the uni degree they really want.

And take it from someone who got the mark he needed and then dropped out of uni anyway, university has nothing to do with your ATAR. It requires hard work, focus and a legitimate passion for what you want to study. If you can tick those boxes, then going through a pathways program into university won’t be an issue at all.

We at Year13 sick of you guys copping an unwarranted amount of pressure all in the name of standardised testing.

Think about getting into university like getting the bus to school, some kids get on busses that have express routes, while others have to make a few more stops. At the end of the day, you still end up at the same place and it’s definitely not worth getting worked up over.