Thousands of young Queenslanders have now received their high school results, but for those who didn’t get their dream ATAR there are still plenty of pathways to university.

Griffith University Senior Vice Chancellor Professor Debra Henly says students have more options than they realise.

“At Griffith there are several pathways to help students improve their selection rank, upgrade to their preferred undergraduate degree or satisfy subject prerequisites and even if you didn’t complete Year 12 we have access schemes that can help you gain admission to university,” Professor Henly explained.

“We have a long tradition ofrecognisingthe skills and knowledge gained through Vocational Education and Training (VET) for instance.

“The University partners with Griffith College, TAFE Institutes and private providers to offer admission pathways into a range of undergraduate degrees.

“Your academic achievements or personal circumstances can also help you get into your preferred degree.

Mitchell Paternoster in the Aviation Simulation lab on Nathan campus

“Our adjustment factor pathways, including the Gold Coast and Logan Priority Access Pathway, Educational Access Scheme (EAS), Elite Athlete Adjustment Factors, Year 12 Subject Adjustment Pathway and Guaranteed Admission Scheme, can help to get students into their preferred course.

“Students can also improve their selection rank by undertaking studies in an alternative Griffith degree and then moving into their chosen course.”

A year into a Bachelor of Aviation at Griffith, even in a pandemic year, Mitchell Paternoster is excited about his career prospects, once the industry recovers from the COVID-19 downturn.

“It has definitely been challenging and daunting for aviation but when we graduate the industry will pick up again,” he said.

Mitchell came to study at Griffith via direct entry, with the Diploma of Business he completed while in high school taken into account, even though he didn’t graduate with an OP.

“I wanted to do aviation for as long as I could remember,” he said.

“When we started discussing alternate pathways to help me get into aviation, my careers counsellor at school said that Griffith had a scheme that recognised a VET qualification.”

“Its been a good year. I’ve been really enjoying university.

“I’ll tell anyone who is worried about a low ATAR score that it definitely isn’t the end of the world and there are always pathways to get where you want to go. You just need to put your mind to it and work towards it.”

Mitchell Taylor at his 2015 graduation with now wife Rebecca.

It’s a statement echoed by current Master of Finance student Mitchell Taylor, who left school without an OP determined to make a career as a dancer, when injury ended his dreams. It was only then he realised his true calling, in the finance and insurance sector where he now works for QSuper.

“I never thought I would be able to go to university and I didn’t even finish grade 12, so I didn’t have the ability to apply,” he said.

“When I injured myself I realised that the dancing dream I had since I was a boy was unlikely to happen.

“I completed a Certificate course and sat an external exam which gave me the ability to apply for an undergraduate course at Griffith University.

“Speaking from experience, I wish someone had told me there were other pathways into University.”

Griffith’s Explore your Options online event kicked off the day ATAR results were released, with personalised advice via online chat available from 8am Saturday 19th of December.

“Heading to university for the first time is a major life moment, so there’s real value for students in having the chance to discuss their options with an expert, to make sure they’re fully informed about potential pathways into university,” Professor Henly said.

“No matter their situation, Griffith’s study advisers can help students understand their study options and pathways into the degree program of their choice, if they don’t initially achieve the entry rank.

“You can chat online with our expert study advisers 21-24 December, 9 am–2 pm daily (AEST).”

ATARs were released to 2020 Queensland Year 12 Students on Saturday 19 December and QTAC offers are scheduled to be made on Wednesday 23 December.

In what has been an extraordinary year, more than 600 students have already accepted offers to study at Griffith in 2021 through the new Year 12 Early Offer Guarantee, which introduced early degree offers based on Year 12 Semester 1 results or VET qualifications.

The new scheme was developed to provide some certainty for school leavers in what have been uncertain times. Offers were issued on 20 November.