The short answer: no.
When you’re in the pressure cooker of year twelve it can feel as if this single number, which you are expending so much of your energy to attain, will define your life. But here's the good news: I can, as someone who’s had an ATAR for two years now, can 100% guarantee that it will not define your life.
Once you get to university or wherever else you go after year twelve people will not care and certainly won’t ask about your ATAR. You may have to enter it into in some online applications and it will probably hang around on your resume for a bit until your new achievements supersede it. Overwhelmingly, however, you will be judged on your new achievements and not how you were during year 12.
But hold on. Before you rejoice, throw down your pens and vow never to look at another English paper again, I would urge you to pause. The ATAR does have a purpose. An ATAR is a direct ticket into a university course. It is not the only way to get into the course, there are always other options, but it is the most direct one. University isn’t for everyone, but if you have a course in mind or if you want the opportunity to get into university and then work it out from there, getting the ATAR you need for the course you want is the quickest and easiest way to get there.
The best way, I think, to think about your ATAR is as a key to university you have to laboriously craft. It’s something you put a lot of work into making but at the end of the day, it’s just that: something you have made. It’s a reflection not of you but of your skill at making keys; of only one facet of you. It is worth putting the effort into attaining the ATAR you want, but rest assured; it will not define you.
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