Year 12s need a back-up plan if they want to go to uni
School students should seek out non-ATAR pathways to tertiary study to minimise potential COVID-19 disruptions this year.
At the height of the pandemic in Australia, many universities were forced to overhaul their entry requirements in recognition that the move to remote learning would affect Year 12 results.
Among them, Adelaide, Swinburne and Flinders universities, as well as the Australian National University, announced they would accept students based on their Year 11 results.
The University of Adelaide has already announced it will again use the alternative pathway program for this year's Year 12 cohort.
UTS College studies dean Tim Laurence expects other institutions to also relax their entry requirements for those seeking to enrol in tertiary study in 2022.
"As Year 11 students studies were impacted by COVID-19 for a good portion of (last) year, you can assume that our universities will be looking at applications through a similar lens to 2021 (enrolments),'' Laurence says.
He warns schooling could again be disrupted this year if further coronavirus outbreaks occur and recommends students discuss "contingency plans'' for project work, like art and design and technology, with their teachers.
Students should also ensure they have the necessary technology for remote study, Laurence says.
Australian Science and Mathematics School learning design leader Cat Stone says Year 12 students should consider alternative pathways to university, in place of - or in addition to - the ATAR.
"COVID-19 disruptions have certainly been on students' minds … with a fear of the unknown, whether their exams will go ahead and, if they do, what their exams would be worth as part of their overall score,'' Stone says.
"Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we've seen students at the ASMS considering alternative entry as more of a mainstream option.''
She says some of the alternative pathways undertaken by ASMS include submitting a portfolio of learning, using their Year 11 results and sitting the uniTEST and other assessment centre testing.
"It has been pleasing in these uncertain times to offer students other opportunities and, for a vast majority of students, help them to understand that exams are just one part of the Year 12 picture,'' Stone says.
Caleb Miller and Sam Fletcher are both about to start their Year 12 studies but have already been accepted into university in 2022.
Miller will undertake a double-degree Bachelor of Engineering (Robotics) (Honours) and Master of Engineering (Electronics) at Flinders University, based on testing he undertook last year through the university's assessment centre.
"Having an offer for university in 2022 before even beginning Year 12 is a massive weight off my shoulders, knowing that I already have a place despite any disruptions that could occur,'' he says.
"With my university entrance already secured, it allows me to use Year 12 to focus on improving skills specific to my chosen degree and further career, rather than focusing too much on getting A grades.''
Originally published as Year 12s need a back-up plan if they want to go to uni