Keep the ATAR in perspective and explore options

  • December 12, 2019

As 2019 draws to a close, many of this year’s HSC students and their parents may be feeling anxious about the ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank). They sometimes worry that if their ATAR is lower than expected, they will lose the chance to study the course they want at their preferred university.

However, this need not be the case. A disappointing ATAR is no reason to lose sight of your university goals. In fact, only one in four Australian undergraduate students are admitted to courses based on their ATAR alone.The good news is that there are other pathways to university and many students succeed, no matter their starting point. Many students wishing to study at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) begin with a diploma from UTS Insearch, the pathway to UTS.

UTS Insearch offers diplomas in Business, Communication, Design and Architecture, Engineering, Information Technology and Science. Many of these will take successful students straight into the second year of a corresponding UTS degree.This is because the diploma courses are designed in collaboration with UTS, so the educational outcomes are the same as for first-year students studying a UTS undergraduate degree.

In other words, UTS Insearch students experience the standards of a globally ranked university from day one of their studies. They also enjoy the new facilities of UTS, such as the state-of-the-art library, 24-hour computer labs, and hundreds of friendly student clubs and associations.

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

Nepalese UTS graduate, Rohit Maharajan, recently commenced a graduate IT position for an Australian law firm. He completed his Bachelor of Science in IT at UTS after graduating from UTS Insearch with a Diploma in IT. As a UTS Student Ambassador, Rohit has helped many other Nepalese students on their university journey. Speaking of UTS Insearch, Rohit says, “It was the best thing to happen to me. It was amazing. More than I expected.”

UTS is Australia’s number-one young university. In fact, it’s been ranked among the 140 best in the world,so it should come as no surprise that UTS graduates are in high demand by employers worldwide. Students who begin their university career at UTS Insearch benefit from a unique combination of ongoing academic support, small class sizes, and practical learning. The program is designed to help them get to UTS, and to thrive there.

Tim Laurence says the difference with learning at a higher education institution like UTS Insearch, rather than diving into first-year university, is the personalised attention students can receive. Many of the teachers are from industry, some are from UTS, and of course, all are hired for their teaching and communication skills. “We offer smaller tutorials with about 20 students in each,” Mr Laurence says. Students also have access to a Study Success Adviser, so the whole program is very student-focused.

In many ways, an alternative pathway such as UTS Insearch can be the ideal way to begin a learning journey – students can learn in smaller steps how to study at a university level, which means they are well on their way to succeeding in their goals.

Image: Supplied
Image: Supplied

If you have questions about the ATAR release, admissions, or would just like a taste of life at UTS, don’t miss UTS Info Week. It runs from Monday 16 December to Friday 20 December. Find out more about attending an on-campus event or register for an online info session during the week by visiting

For a one-on-one discussion with staff, or to discuss admission pathways, make sure you attend UTS Options Day, on 19 December – and attend the There is another way into UTS info session’ with UTS Insearch.