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COVID-19 and uni: Q&A for parents

This article appears in: High school to uni
Teenager and their parent having a discussion with a third person

If your child is getting ready to transition from Year 12 to tertiary studies, there’s understandably an extra layer of anxiety in your household amidst COVID-19. The stakes seem high and it can be difficult to know how to support your young one at this time. But you are in a unique position to reassure your child, and help them navigate the many opportunities still available to them.

Your child can still be on the best possible path, despite the uncertain future. Here’s what you should know to help you better support your child during these times. 

University admissions during COVID-19

It’s confirmed that Year 12 examinations and ATAR are going ahead in the Northern Territory, so let’s talk about ATAR anxiety.

A 2019 study found that 75 per cent of students feel their ATAR will impact the rest of their life. And the events of 2020 are likely to have spiked that number.

This makes the ATAR seem like it will make or break your child’s ability to study at university, which may not be the case.

So, what is this ATAR and why does it cause so much anxiety? First of all, the ATAR is not a fixed score, it’s a ranking. All Year 12 students are ranked along each other. During COVID-19 especially, the goal of every education provider is to make sure that Year 12 is equitable for everyone and assessment practices reflect that.

If your child’s ATAR result is likely to be impacted by this year’s events, they can attach a personal statement to their application explaining their circumstances.

There are many ways to get into university

As a parent, you play an important role in encouraging your child to pursue a study path that they feel passionate about. By doing what they love and using their natural strengths, they are likely to give their studies more time and energy and forge a successful career.

A 2018 study showed that over half of the students who received an offer to study at a tertiary institution that year were accepted on criteria other than ATAR. There are plenty of people who went on to have successful careers even though they didn’t get the scores they were hoping for.

Remind your child that the ATAR is just a piece of the story, not the whole story, and they can still go on to have their dream career path, regardless of their ATAR result.

Try to familiarise yourself with the pathways available to your child, and encourage them to embrace any detours along the way to their dream career.

If they don’t meet their course criteria, they may be able to complete CDU’s 16-week free Tertiary Enabling Program, which will then help them gain admission into most CDU undergraduate degrees.

Or they can start with a vocational training course to gain industry-relevant skills in an area they’re interested in. This could be enough for them to transition to a career in that area, or they might decide they’d like to continue their studies and transfer to an undergraduate degree.

What will going to uni look like next year?

The education sector has worked hard to redefine what learning looks like in these times, and to give all students the best possible chance for success. Encourage your child to choose an institution and a course that offers flexible options, online and on-campus study, and that could quickly adapt to changes.

Stay up to date with the latest information about the impact of COVID-19 on CDU students.

How are universities preventing the spread of the virus?

Universities are excellent collaborators and that’s what they’ve been doing best to stop the spread of the virus. As soon as COVID-19 concerns were raised, Australian universities, including CDU, closely followed the advice of health authorities and moved to prevent the spread.

You can be rest assured at CDU we carefully consider our community’s interests. We will continue to implement safety measures to slow down community transmission and observe the advice of relevant government authorities.

At CDU, many of our classes can be attended online to reduce face-to-face teaching and make social distancing easier. We also offer 24/7 online tutoring and learning support.

See how some of CDU’s Colleges are implementing innovative online learning amidst COVID-19.  

No one can predict with certainty what next year will look like, so get in touch with CDU’s Student Central team if you have any questions. In the meantime, try to enjoy discussing options with your child. Reassure them that whatever path they chose they could lead to a great outcome, and they have your support.

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