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    18 Experiences That Show Why HSC Results Don't Actually Matter IRL

    Nobody cares about your ATAR in real life.

    It's no secret that exam season has been extra testy for our sweet-baby-angel year twelves over this past year.


    And it's not surprising that the anxieties of current world events are just being added to by the pressure of doing well during end-of-year exams and assignments.

    Well, Reddit user u/thataussiem8te is one such young Aussie who's struggled with motivation to study this year — for good reason — and they've asked what happens if they "fail" the year 12 exams?


    As far as I know, you can't actually fail the HSC, but you can certainly get a mark that might not get you into the uni course you were gunning for. But that doesn't mean that you can't still follow your dreams, even if your road might have more pit-stops than most. 

    Before we get into the responses, I wanted to tell you my experience, which I believe is proof that the HSC is not the decider on what you end up doing with your life.


    As someone who personally struggled during high school in general — and subsequently received an ATAR which was a few points close to a mystery mark — it always breaks my heart when I see senior students putting their physical and mental health on the line during exams and result time.

    Upon receiving my low mark, I did feel a little defeated and insecure about my abilities, so I decided to pursue a career that was far from what I was actually passionate about.


    After about half a year of studying, I realised that it was impossible for me to do well at something I had zero interest in and switched courses — which ended up being one of the greatest decisions I've ever made.

    Luckily, there are heaps of courses and programs you can enrol in — even if your mark wasn't high enough for you to get into university. So, do your research and I'm certain you'll be able to find a course that'll get you where you want to go, no matter what field you're interested in.


    You don't need to go to university to get a degree and most companies don't actually care where you were educated, so long as you meet the job requirements and are passionate about what you do.

    And hey, if you don't know what you want to do yet, that's no big deal either! You have so much time to decide who you want to be and what that looks like — then to change your mind again.


    I went from studying sociology at The College Of Western Sydney, to business marketing and public relations at Macleay College, to a communications degree at UTS — then finally got my Bachelors degree from Macleay College for Business and Public Relations. Now I'm working at my dream job.

    And with that out of the way, here are some other great responses from u/thataussiem8te's Reddit thread:


    "A) You do a low ATAR degree for a year and transfer over.

    B) You go to the university’s college and transfer over after a year (approximately).

    C) You go to Tafe and then transfer over (not exactly sure how long this takes though).

    This is if you want to go university, if not, the HSC doesn’t even matter."



    "I got a pretty good ATAR and still made a mess of my life. The number becomes irrelevant very quickly."




    "I got a really high ATAR, then dropped out of two different degrees while I watched people who got ATARs in the 60s and 70s pass me in their careers. Your ATAR means nothing — you just have to be willing to work hard later in life."



    "You can’t 'fail' the HSC, mate. Just like you can’t pass it. It’s degrees of how well you do. So keep working as best you can and do what you are able. You can work for a while or go to TAFE and then go to uni afterwards. It might slow you down a little, but in the end you, can do basically whatever you want if you want it bad enough."


    Dr Squatch / BuzzFeed


    "No one cares about your ATAR once you are in the real world. Some of the smartest people I know got under 70 ATAR and are killing it now (I'm in my 30s). If you really want to study at uni, you still can, but it may take a while longer — as you will transfer into various degrees as long as you have a credit plus average.

    I have a mate who got below 50 and is now the head accountant for a large company in the Hunter. My girlfriend didn’t get an ATAR (health reasons) and she is now a teacher."



    "It depends on where you want to end up career/job wise. The HSC is massively overemphasised by teachers and schools in my opinion, probably because they're interested in the school scoring high in the HSC/ATAR rankings.

    This is just my opinion, but I reckon that unless you want to go straight into uni after high school, the HSC doesn't mean a whole lot. It's entirely possible to either do HSC-equivalent subjects through TAFE later to get the ATAR you need, or even get into a degree course as a mature-age student after a few years, at which time an ATAR isn't necessary."


    Adult Swim


    "I got below 30 on my ATAR. In the seven years since I finished high school, I have been asked about it once. It hasn't stopped me from getting into university or getting a job.

    You don't need to put so much pressure on yourself with it. There are 3-6 month courses you can do that will get you the entry requirements you need for higher education if that's what you want to do. If you'll be trying to go straight into work after year 12, then no one will care what your ATAR was."



    "I failed my HSC miserably and didn't go to university until 15 years later. I have had a very rich and rewarding career, which continues to this day. Don't let the HSC be the decider for your life."


    TV Land


    "I have a feeling the average ATAR of high school graduates is going to suffer for the next few years. It’s not the end of the world if your ATAR doesn’t get you into the university of your choice — there are always pathways via secondary education to get where you want to be."



    "You can go to uni at any age and your HSC results are meaningless. I went to uni at 22, got my bachelors, worked for awhile and now I'm back at uni at 31 getting my masters. It's completely normal and I wish this was something that was emphasised more in high school."




    "My cousin didn't get a good HSC result and didn't get into uni. She's now a lawyer focused on women's rights. My wife's older brother never finished high school. He's now managing a large aged care facility after a management career in international hotel chains. My wife's younger brother left school at 15 to work at KFC, he's recently completed his masters in education and is a school principal. The HSC is really not that critical and certainly not a measure of how your life will progress. Do what you can but don't stress. Good luck!"



    "I finished year 12 without a HSC. Ended up going to uni as a mature aged student part-time via UAC exam at 28.

    I work in IT, just wanted the degree to strengthen my job prospects. I don't think you lose anything by starting later, other than maybe taking a bit longer to get where you're going. Enjoy the ride, there are equally important things in life you can be doing."




    "I got mid 30s for my ATAR, and now I'm about to finish my bachelor's and start a post grad. HSC isn't everything. Get a job and work for a bit after school, travel, then go to uni in your 20s. Or start a career somewhere. Uni isn't the be all and end all, and there are so many opportunities after high school."



    "Technically you can't fail the HSC. I got a mystery mark, now I work for a university earning just as much and sometimes more than my friends that went to uni. You'll be okay."




    "If you fail it [HSC], life continues. It did for me. I went on to have two very successful professional careers after failing it in 1984. The HSC is one of the most overrated things you will do. Life is bigger than it will ever be."



    "One of my friends failed. She went to a private college for a year afterwards and then started at university. Think she dropped out of that in the end.

    Two of my other friends didn’t get enough to enter their streams of engineering like I did. They went to UTS Insearch for a year or two and finished their degrees at UTS. They both have higher salaries than I."


    TV Land

    17. And finally:

    "Absolutely nothing happens. You become an adult, work and enjoy life."


    And there you have it! Getting a low score in the HSC doesn't mean that your life is over, so be kind to yourself — and make sure that you're taking care of you first.


    Note: Responses have been edited for length, sensitivity and/or clarity.