2 min read

Why a Higher ATAR is Not the Only Path to Success in Australia

by Tenzing Tsewang



As you approach the end of high school, it's natural to be worried about how high your ATAR score is. However, it's not quite as important as you might think. Here, we examine why a high ATAR score isn't the only path to success in Australia and how Wandr can help.

As you plot your career path at the end of high school, your ATAR score is something that you're told matters greatly. While this is true, if yours isn't where you want it to be, you shouldn't be thinking the worst, as it's not the ultimate decider of your future success. Here, we bust the myth that your ATAR score is the make-or-break factor that determines the rest of your life.

Let's zoom out for a sec. Think of life as being like a massive theme park with endless attractions, and some rides need a specific ticket - which, in this case, is a high ATAR to go to university. However, it's not the only ride in the theme park. In fact, there's a bunch more to try that are every bit as enjoyable.

The thing is, the real secret sauce to success as you explore careers is a mix of hard work, resilience and passion. In a rapidly changing world, the traditional 'study hard and get a good score, and the rest will follow' mantra is not the only maxim to follow. It's more about finding what makes you tick, what you're good at, and running with it.

What Is ATAR Score & What Does it Mean?

So, let's break this thing down. In terms of pseudo aptitude tests, an ATAR compares your overall academic performance against other final-year students. Standing for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, you get a number between zero and 99.95, and it's based on how you do in your Higher School Certificate (HSC) or equivalent.

So, Why is ATAR Deemed so Important?

Well, in terms of career jobs, there's a misconception that the university path is the only one that will get you a good, well-paying position at the end of it. That's why an ATAR score has so much riding on it, as a good one will give you the best possible chance to get into the best unis.

That said, an ATAR is not everything, far from it. That's because there are multiple ways in which you can get into your chosen career or course, such as:

  • Bridging courses (a short, intensive course that gives you skills needed for course entry)
  • Apprenticeships that allow you to earn a wage as you learn vital job skills
  • TAFE training (hands-on vocational learning)

You see, your learning journey does not simply end if you leave school and don't quite get into university. In truth, you never actually stop learning. You'll be learning right the way along your career path, and employers value soft skills such as passion, drive, leadership and resilience highly - something that you can't measure with an ATAR score.

Job Skills & Experience Are Also Key

Other things that will evolve over time and broaden your career options are the skills and experience that you pick up along the way once in the workforce. Your personal development has only just begun when you're in high school, and the abilities you're yet to gain are also key to your career growth.

While your ATAR is looming large in your life right now, it's a short-term thing, as it's just part of a larger, more exciting journey. An ATAR is a key to just one door, and you shouldn't stress, as it's not the whole story - just one element from it. As such, it doesn't have to define your future.

Industries in Which Your ATAR Doesn't Matter So Much

If you've been given sound career guidance by your school, they will have almost certainly pointed out that there are dozens of options that are still open to you if you don't go to university. There are countless well-paid jobs that you can train for in a variety of ways. Let's take a look at a few of them.

Technology and IT

In the ever-changing world of technology, there are many interesting jobs that you can pursue, and this field is only going in one direction - and that's up! Roles include:

  • Cybersecurity Specialist: Protecting data from hackers. Sounds like a spy movie job!
  • Software Developer: Creating apps and software that might be the next big thing.
  • IT Support: Working as the tech hero everyone relies on.

Interested in working in this exciting field? Try our Wandr courses in Cyber Security and IT!

Trades & Construction

Tradespeople in Australia are the unsung heroes that keep everything working and get the essential services we all rely on built and maintained. Great jobs in this field include:

  • Electrician: Keeping the lights on and the power flowing.
  • Plumber: Saving the day from leaks and blocks!
  • Builder: Build skyscrapers or dream homes – literally shaping the skyline.

Fancy working in this field? Try our construction, plumbing and mechanics courses.

Creative Industries

If you have a flair for invention and innovation, another of the great non-degree career options exists in the creative industries, which cover the following roles:

  • Graphic Designer: Turning your artistic flair into eye-catching designs.
  • Digital Marketing: Helping brands shine online – it's all about the 'gram!
  • Photographer/Videographer: Capturing moments and telling stories through your lens.

Got some creative abilities burning inside you? Explore careers in these areas with our Photography and Graphic design courses.

Why These Industries Rock!

As you can see, these are interesting jobs and skills for this kind of work can be gained without heading to university. What's more, you get to learn on the job and gain abilities that uni can't teach you while earning a wage. These types of professions rock, and many allow you to get your foot in the door with traineeships or apprenticeships.

Whether you're a tech whiz, a hands-on problem solver, a health enthusiast, or a creative soul, there's a high-flying path waiting for you. The best part? You can start preparing now! Sure, a great ATAR score is good to have, but it is possible to succeed without one.

Wandr - Helping You Navigate the Many Career Options

Leaving school can be a tricky time and it can be harder than Chinese maths to spot your best career path. Don't worry though, as the Wandr learning and discovery platform is here to help. Even if you’ve haven't got the foggiest idea of which way to go, our courses let you get a view of a wide range of career options to see what it would be like working in them.

Want to know what it’s like working in travel and tourism or beauty and fashion? No problem! We can give you the insight you need. Other areas covered include:

  • Business, Management
  • Mental Health & Wellness
  • Branding & Influencing
  • Criminology & Law
  • Graphic Design & FX
  • Fitness & Nutrition
  • Aged Care

Our affordable learning options can give you the knowledge you need to formulate a coherent and well-chosen plan based on facts. We've even got experts you can talk to 1-to-1 for great career guidance and real-world industry insights, or why not take our “What career should I do?” quiz that gives you pointers on what you're suited to?

Get the Career Guidance You Need With Wandr Learning

There's so much to consider when you're leaving high school, and it can be difficult to know which way to turn. That's why we created the Wandr platform to give young people like you clear guidance on what's available to you and what really matters. Our video-led career content spans thousands of topics, and our expert mentors are here to give you the helping hand you need.

To discover more about Wandr training, visit us today at www.wandr.au, or why not have a chat with our friendly team by calling 1300 611 404 or emailing support@wandr.au? They're ready and eager to steer you in the right direction.

by Tenzing Tsewang



As you approach the end of high school, it's natural to be worried about how high your ATAR score is. However, it's not quite as important as you might think. Here, we examine why a high ATAR score isn't the only path to success in Australia and how Wandr can help.

Fitness and Business Mentor



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