School results need not be a time of stress

Thousands of school-leavers who miss out on their first-choice university course should not panic, according to a leading education advisor.

Dr Jessica Vanderlelie (pictured), lecturer and graduate advisor at the Griffith School of Medical Science, says not having a high OP is not the end of the world.

Nearly 30,000 Queensland and interstate Year 12s have just received formal notiifcation of their high school results and may fear they have missed their first preference.

This can be a time of extreme emotional highs and lows for school leavers and their families.

It’s important for those who have miss out on their chosen tertiary course to realise, all is not lost, the Griffith University lecturer said.

“By accepting a second or third preference and working hard you may be able to move across to your chosen degree program within six months or a year,” Dr Vanderlelie said.

“What matters is getting a foot in the door,” she said.

The Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre has reported that, as in previous years, the most popular first choice courses have been in health followed by society and culture.

Combined, they account for 45 percent of applicants’ first preferences.

Society and culture includes law and humanities programs, while health includes nursing and specialist health professions such as physiotherapy, optometry, speech pathology, and occupational therapy.

There has also been growth in first preference choices for agriculture and the environment, engineering, information technology, and science.

Year 12s whose results were not what they expected, or are even better than they had hoped, have until January 5 to change their preferences.

But it is never too late for a change of heart. It may be that some students choose their university course because they have an OP score high enough to get in, but it may not be a career to which they are suited. Or perhaps they simply haven’t considered fully all their options.

Jaclyn Johnston was a student who switched her study path. Jaclyn has just graduated with a Bachelor of Public Health majoring in nutrition, but began her university studies in journalism. She changed her mind when she realised journalism wasn’t for her after all.

“I did panic when I realised halfway through this is definitely not what I want to do, so I took a turn,” Jaclyn said.

Her advice to other students is not to worry if you change your mind and don’t stick with something just because you started it.

“So many students change their studies,” Jaclyn said.

Having found her right career choice, Jaclyn will now begin her Master of Nutrition and Dietetics at Griffith University in 2012.

Griffith Option Information sessions are taking place at Gold Coast and South Bank campuses on Tuesday December 20 2001 from 3 to 6pm.