2020. What a year. Through December, results will be released for students across Australia.

If you are reading this and have now received your results, congratulations (if not, there’s not long left!). Making it this far is a huge effort, and something you should be proud of. If you’re reading this and you’re happy with your results, that’s absolutely amazing, and we’re sending our biggest congratulations. Awesome work! If you’re not so happy, this article might be for you.

The purpose of this article is to help you digest what’s just happened, and see what your options are from here. First of all:

Whatever you feel is valid

No matter what you felt when you opened your results – or what you feel now – those feelings are totally, totally valid. Your results are yours, and yours alone. So are your feelings. For that reason, not a single person can tell you how you’re meant to be feeling, and you should take any advice along this line with a grain of salt.

Of course, you can share the moment with other students. Check out our results discussion sections for HSC students, QCE students, and VCE students.

What’s really important, though, is what you do with your results – that’s what will make the difference from this point forward.

Stoked about your ATAR? Where to from here?

Now that the long wait is over and you finally have your results, what now? Given the build-up and the nature of the results, suddenly having an ATAR you’re happy with can actually be sort of overwhelming. Here’s a quick bit of advice:

Don’t feel as though you need to “use” your ATAR

Here’s the thing. If you had store credit for just one chocolate bar at a shop, it wouldn’t make sense to choose the most expensive one just because it’s the most expensive. What would make sense is choosing the chocolate bar that you think is best for you, or that you’ll most enjoy. Because at the end of the day, you’ll be the one eating it.

If you get a great ATAR – particularly if you weren’t expecting it – it’s easy to fall into the trap of changing your preferences to include new courses you’re not necessarily that interested in, but could now probably access. For example, preferencing Commerce just because you can, even though you’re not really interested in Commerce, really wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

Take some time to sit down and think about what you really want. Like, what you really want. And if that’s a course that requires a much lower ATAR than you received, go for it.

Realise that your results are building blocks

Your ATAR can lead to a whole range of opportunities. Of course, it can help you get into different university courses, but it can also lead to scholarships, employment opportunities, or other personal development. In regard to scholarships specifically, it’s worth checking out offerings from different universities, as there are quite likely very many more scholarships available than you might initially anticipate.

Try not to take the “your ATAR means nothing” comments to heart

They will come, and a lot of these types of comments can actually discredit your achievements and be unintentionally offensive. Just keep in mind that other people – a lot of other people, in fact – won’t be as happy about their results, so try to be sensitive to that fact.

If you want more help, or need advice…

We’re here to help you as much as we can. If you’re trying to work out what to do or how to order your preferences, feel free to ask on our general university section of the forums. We have a small army of past, current and future students willing to provide their insights and advice. Plus, we have specific sections for a whole range of universities, and you can ask your questions there, too.


Again, congratulations on getting through, and stellar work if you’re feeling happy with your results. We’ll be here to help you through the next part of your journey. 👊