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ANU’s vice-chancellor shares ATAR message to anxious students

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A senior academic has shared some comforting words of wisdom for students anxiously awaiting the release of their Year 12 marks in the coming days.

While Victorian students received Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks (ATAR) from 7am Monday morning, NSW and Queensland graduates will be waiting until Thursday and Friday to get their ranks. Students in South Australia and the Northern Territory will be the last to find out on Monday, December 19.

However, the vice-chancellor of Australian National University (ANU) Brian Schmidt, reassured students that their ATARs would not define their academic or professional futures.

“While I hope you get the outcome you worked so hard for, I want to remind you that your ATAR does not define your worth as a human being,” said the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and astrophysicist.

“I was a good student but I wasn’t the absolute best and that still turned out OK for me.

“Your ATAR might feel like the be-all and end-all but I promise you it’s not. Life is ultimately unpredictable but it’s who you are as a person – your kindness and your curiosity – that’s what’s going to keep you on the right path.”

Prof Schmidt is one of the many voices who are advocating a measured approach to this year’s release of ATAR results.

Swinburne University of Technology digital media senior lecturer Belinda Barnet also said there were other pathways into university courses.

“If you don’t like that number, don’t stress,” she tweeted.

“There are actually *lots* of other ways to get into the course you want. Times have changed.”

The anxious wait for results follows an IT glitch on the NSW Education Standards Authority website (NESTA), which meant some results were released five days early.

On Saturday morning some students were able to access their preliminary results, after a link was shared on an HSC Facebook discussion group.

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has since issued an apology to HSC students, saying she was “not happy” with the blunder.

“We just apologise for the confusion or the distress that this may have caused,” she told 9 News.

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