School leavers keep their options open

More than 1300 school leavers descended on the University of Wollongong yesterday for Options Day 2013.

For many, it was a chance to reconsider their options after getting an ATAR (university entrance score) much lower, or higher, than anticipated.

Staff from all faculties were on hand in the university hall to offer up course options, and answer questions, while campus and accommodation tours ran throughout the day.

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UOW schools liaison officer Chiara Smith said students came from right across the South Coast and Southern Highlands, as well as the southern suburbs of Sydney, and even one from Tasmania.

"We've had a really good turnout this year, with numbers up on last year," she said.

"The aim of the day is to show students the varied pathways they can take to get into uni.

"For those students who didn't get the ATAR they needed for their preferred course, it was a chance to look at the different options - like maybe the UOW College or TAFE.

"For those who got a higher-than-expected ATAR, it was an opportunity to look at advanced programs, like dean's scholar courses."

Alyssa Essex, 18, from Menai, was one of the students disappointed with her ATAR, but determined to follow her goal of studying psychology.

"I didn't get the score I wanted so I've come to look at what pathways there are to get into the course I want," she said. "It's been really informative."

For Alexandra Lucas, from Broulee near Batemans Bay, it was a chance not only to get some information on her preferred course - but to look at some practicalities of uni life.

"I want to do an arts degree and study languages so wanted to see what options were available," she said.

"But it's also been great to go on the campus tours as well as the accommodation tours, as I will need to move up here if I get in."

Former schoolmates from Mount St Joseph in Milperra - Courtney Nicholls, Jennifer Minehan and Brittany Andonovski - made the trek to Wollongong together.

Ms Nicholls wants to get into nursing while Ms Minehan and Ms Andonovski are both looking at the bachelor of communications and media studies.

"But I'm also looking at other options like performance and theatre," Ms Andonovski said.

"With this uni, there is so much to offer, and so many courses that cater for everyone."

That broad range of courses is what attracted Jordan Windmill, of Jannali, who hoped the day would provide him with some answers.

"I'm not sure at all of what course I should do," he said. "So, it's a great chance for me to see what's available, and ask some questions, to see what would suit me best."

Students were able to change their course preferences on site - while preferences for the main round of study can be changed online up until midnight tonight.

The University Admissions Centre will release its main round offers at 9pm on January 16.

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