The stress surrounding HSC and ATAR scores at this time of year is kind of insane… I never felt the same amount of pressure completing high school. That may have just been my personal experience, but from what I’ve seen of my friends then compared to now is that there’s a lot more emphasis placed on the importance of your ATAR than the reality of it all. I left high school early and went straight into studying a certificate in communication studies. After completing that, I had the option to continue on into the degree, however I chose not to and began to work full time in media.

Related: Top advice that shows there’s more to life than your ATAR

After less than six months working as the online content producer for a prominent radio station in NZ, I was offered a job at a worldwide list-making website in Sydney. Two weeks later I was here in Australia, and have continued my career in media since.

I’m not the only person who has proved that failing/not finishing high school doesn’t put a limit on your success. Check out some of these other people who prove getting a low ATAR doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in life.

Talecia Vescio

“I had really great grades through high school until the HSC where I totally bombed because I was struggling with family stuff and mental health issues. I Got a 41 ATAR when I was gunning for 85-90. Obviously I was totally gutted and felt useless and hopeless. I freelanced and made no money, lived at home and hated everything but it wasn’t until I pursued further study that I was pulled out of my majorly deep rut.”

“I studied Screen and Media – Radio Broadcasting for a year and was accepted into another school to further my radio study after this. Not even half way through my course I was offered a job as Digital Content Producer at The Edge 96.1. I’ve been at The Edge for almost 9 months and in that time I’ve been approached twice by other radio stations to work for them.”

A Vice art director, Ben

Ben reckons Grand Theft Auto III was partially responsible for him failing high school in NZ, but that didn’t stop him from moving forward with his studies. He went into a bridging course before completing a three year degree, proving anyone can go to uni if they put their mind to it.

Marcus Pearl

marcus pearl atar
Marcus Pearl via website. spoke to Marcus Pearl about how after getting an ATAR of 52.15 he managed to build his career and achieve a commerce degree. The 33-year-old says no one has ever asked him about his ATAR since his first job interview; “Once you get into the real world, it doesn’t matter.” Pearl now runs a successful insurance company.

What can you do?

If your ATAR score wasn’t what you were hoping for, or you’re not quite sure what your options are for tertiary study, check out The College at Western Sydney University. They offer a range of diplomas across a massive array of subjects that can help further your career and even get you into the second year of the corresponding degree.

Watch: Introducing Western Sydney University – The College

A diploma offers you the freedom and opportunity to learn more within a range of subjects over one year. At the end you have the choice to continue your studies in the second year of the degree, or finish with a qualification. If you never finished school or don’t have an ATAR of 55 or higher, you can enrol in an extended diploma. It only takes an extra four months and offers you the same opportunities at the end as a normal diploma. Outside of offering you entry into full higher education, these diplomas offer a chance for you to experience student life.

If you’re not sure what to do after receiving your ATAR score, check out The College at Western Sydney University to learn more about your options.