We spoke to James Terry from UOW College to learn about alternative pathways into UOW.
If you've received your ATAR and it's different than expected, the first step is not to panic.
"It's not devastating. You'll be okay. Your ATAR doesn't define you," James Terry advises.
James works with students at UOW College to help them find an alternative way into UOW, as your ATAR is just one of many routes.
"Pathway programs are just an alternative method of achieving your goals. They are a plan B, plan C or plan D for students to get to where they want to go," James says.
Explore these plans to help start your journey into UOW.
Plan B: Play around with your preferences
If your ATAR is a few points short of your desired course, you may be eligible for additional points through adjustment factors. Students applying to UOW can add up to 11 points to their ATAR based on their location, subject performance, or any long-term disadvantage.
"UOW have adjustment factors to recognise great marks in relevant subjects. These can help get you over the line and into your course," James says.
However, adjustment factors may not always be enough to get you into your first preference course. In this case, students have a window of opportunity after receiving their marks to adjust their preferences to more realistic courses.
"They might still be super relevant towards your chosen career or degree, which you can even move over to once you arrive at university," James adds.
UOW holds ATAR advice days where you can speak to course experts and review your preferences. These happen in multiple locations across NSW, making it easy and accessible for everyone.
Plan C: University Entrance Program
"UOW College is a strong option for students to pursue, especially if their ATAR comes out at a level where they think, 'oh, that wasn't quite where I thought it was going to land,'" James says.
The University Entrance Program (UEP) is a pathway through UOW College, which in most cases, can provide guaranteed entry into the first or second year of a UOW degree. It's a study program for students who don't meet direct entry requirements for particular degrees and college diplomas.
"The vast majority of students are set up stronger than direct entry students because they've gained admission into a degree that they're obviously motivated and passionate about because they have gone down that alternate route to get there," James says.
UOW College students receive the same access to university resources, facilities, accommodation, entertainment and clubs, along with additional support and assistance in mapping out their program to enter into their dream degree or career.
"Pathway students often arrive at their bachelor's degree more prepared than students fresh out of high school because they get to experience academic life with the support of the College. They've already been here on campus. They've been through many of the processes and navigated the systems. They know all the acronyms and language. It can be really positive in the long run," James says.
Plan D: Diploma or Certificate IV
You can complete a Certificate IV or Diploma through UOW College, TAFE NSW or another registered training organisation (RTO).
"UOW College suits some students given the degrees they're interested in, but TAFE is also a strong option for them to explore. It will give them a quality qualification to then apply to UOW," James says.
If a student completes a Diploma or Certificate IV at TAFE, UOW will assess their qualifications and achievements and align those with the degree. Students usually can transfer credit towards their degree as well.
"They are not left behind. It might potentially be an extra semester or so depending on the credit you can transfer over, but most of the time, there is no huge delay in taking these pathways," he says.
"Once you arrive at your first lecture at university, nobody cares where you came from or your ATAR. Everyone's equitable and in the same position, ready to commence their journey into their degree.