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Help and Guidance for Year 12 Students

Friday, 23 July 2021

When you’re in the middle of Year 12, focused on exams and assessments, it can be hard to look outside all of that to a life beyond high school.

Even when you do start to consider your options, everything seems to be focused on the next step. VCE students are taught to navigate the VTAC system, while HSC students will wait anxiously for their results from UAC.

But beyond high school, and beyond university, lies a whole world of opportunities. Now is the time to start finding your path and pursuing your passions, because as you leave high school behind, you will have the chance to choose your own direction, and to choose a path that fills you with joy. 

If you are excited about your career path, then working on things you enjoy for eight hours a day (or half of all your waking hours) will sound like a dream come true. If working half of your waking hours or more (consider working late, commuting, training, or taking work home) fills you with dread, then now is the time to consider how you will find a way to follow your passions. 

Here at AIT, we are passionate about inspiring the next generation of creative professionals. Offering higher education courses in 2D animation, 3D design, film and video, game design, mobile app development, and games programming, we want to equip creative students with the skills that they need to pursue a career that they will love.   

That’s why we have put together this guide. Here we will look at the ways you can start planning for life after Year 12, with some help from screenwriter Christopher Vogler’s adaptation of the Hero’s Journey.


Act One - Departure

Start Planning Your Future (The Ordinary World)

Year 12 is your ordinary, everyday world, and it seems all-consuming. But there is a bigger world out there, one that you will be called to join soon. While you may not feel that you have time to think about anything but study right now, it’s important to start planning early.

There will be open days throughout the rest of the year, so you will want to start putting some dates in your calendar now. 

If you would like to come along to the 2021 AIT Open Day, it’s on Saturday 14 August. You can join us for Open Day on-campus in Melbourne, or online if you live in Sydney. 


Take a Break from Study and Do Some Research (The Call of Adventure)

Believe it or not, an adventure beyond Year 12 awaits, and there are many resources out there to help you discover future pathways.

Some helpful Government sites include:

Course Seeker, allows you to search for undergraduate courses by name, subject, or location, and links you to the relevant admission centres.

myfuture, provides tools and resources for students who wish to learn more about particular careers and educational institutions.

JobOutlook, breaks down the skills, expected pay, and future outlook for different jobs and industries.

Don’t forget to talk to friends, family, teachers, careers advisors and others. Even if someone you speak to doesn’t know about a particular industry or course of study, they may know someone who does.

If you’re ready to dive into creative work straight away, then that’s great! One of the best things you can do is to develop your skills and build your portfolio of work by simply creating things for fun. 

You don’t need to wait for someone to tell you that you can start learning or working on this stuff. There are plenty of incredible opportunities out there, and you can consider all of this part of your research for your future career adventure. If you actually look forward to learning new skills and participating in challenges like the ones listed below, then there’s a good chance you will enjoy using these skills every day in your career. 

Have a look at:

The 11 Second Club, for monthly character animation competitions that are open to anyone!

Learn Ruby, or another programming language through a short Codecademy course. 

Look out for challenges on social media, such as the #drawthisinyourstyle competitions.

Free tutorials from Unreal and Unity can help you to get a feel for game development and 3D design. 

Blender tutorials can help with your 2D and 3D creations.  

One last tip - you could even use scholarship applications (more on this later) as a chance to practice your skills and build your portfolio. 


Not Sure Which Course to Choose? (Refusal of the Call)

Maybe you’re putting off course selection. After all, you can’t be expected to decide your whole future right now, when you’re busy trying to survive Year 12!

Maybe others around you are discouraging. This can be especially true for those pursuing creative careers. And even if everyone around you is supportive, there can be that voice in your head telling you to choose something practical.

Deciding what to do after Year 12 is a big step. It’s daunting, and you may be reluctant to see things change. After all, it’s unlikely you will be heading in the same direction as all your high school friends next year.

It’s still important to make plans. Even if you change your mind down the track, knowing that you have researched a range of possible pathways can help take the pressure off any future decisions.


Use the Right Tools to Guide Your Search (Meeting the Mentor)

Whichever state or territory you live in, domestic students will have the chance to apply for courses directly, or through a tertiary admissions centre. If you are an international student, then you may need to apply directly to the institution where you wish to study or through an education agent.

If you are a domestic student applying for Victorian courses through VTAC, then your school may have directed you to use CourseSearch. If you’re interested in courses in NSW, the ACT, or another state, then your school may encourage you to sign up to their admissions centre. 

Searching for courses through one of these official admissions websites gives you insight into the application process. You will be able to access course codes, see minimum ATAR selection ranks, course requirements, and prerequisite studies. You can then make a shortlist with all the essential information for the courses that interest you.  

You can use these portals in conjunction with your own research, and still apply directly for the courses you have chosen. Applying directly means you won’t have to pay for a VTAC account (in Victoria) and in all states, you have the opportunity to secure an enrolment offer before finishing Year 12, meaning you won’t have to wait through the offer rounds to find out if you have been accepted for your dream course. 

Whether you apply directly, or through a tertiary admissions centre, you will need to find or create your unique student identifier (USI)

AIT has chosen to accept direct applications and to set no ATAR requirement so that students with a genuine desire to pursue a creative career can do so, without relying on a ranking that may not reflect their true potential. At AIT we will equip you with the industry-ready skills that you need, so all you need to bring is a desire to learn and to make the most of opportunities as you pursue your passion


Act Two – Initiation

Narrow Down Your Course Options (Crossing the First Threshold)

This is the point when you truly commit to your new adventure. You’ve mapped out possible destinations and you’re deciding exactly which ones to travel to.

You can contact tertiary institutions and check course guides to find details of any cut-off dates and other requirements.  

Most importantly, this is the time to look carefully at what will be taught in each course, and whether this will set you up for the future that you want to pursue.

Then there are the surrounding considerations. What is the tertiary institution and campus like? Is it in a convenient location? Or are you happy to relocate for your chosen course?

Will you learn in a style that suits you? Will teaching be hands-on and practical, or more academic and theory-based? Will the classes be large or small? Are your teachers industry professionals, and will you be industry-ready at the end of your studies?


Attend Open Days and Apply for Courses (Tests, Allies, Enemies)

There are deadlines, there are fees. There are also open days where you can meet course educators and current students.

AIT’s Melbourne open day will be held at our Spencer Street campus. We'll be running free creative workshops, panel discussions, info sessions and much more to provide a taste of the creative industries and our approach to learning. Our educators will be on hand to address any questions you might have about job opportunities and what it’s really like to work in the industry. 

In Sydney, we will be running a COVID safe open day online, but we don’t want you to miss out! So, we have organised live demos with our educators, as well as course info sessions and panel discussions with some of the biggest names in the industry. You’ll get the opportunity to ask questions, and if you only think of those questions after open day, then you can contact our friendly course advisers. They will be happy to send you a course guide or any extra information that you need. 

One test that you may be wondering about is the ATAR. At this stage, you will be applying for courses based on the ATAR result that you’re hoping for. Some courses (such as those offered at AIT) won’t require an ATAR score for entry. It’s important to double-check the admissions information and entry requirements for your chosen course. Some creative courses, for example, may require a portfolio of your work.  

You might meet allies for your new adventure at open day. This is where you will be able to get an idea of campus life and student clubs, and generally see whether this is a place where you might be happy spending the next few years. 

You will also want to make sure that course fees don’t become your enemies. All AIT higher education courses are approved for FEE-HELP, but courses at other institutions may not be.


Check Eligibility for Scholarships (Approach to the Inmost Cave)

You might find that the institution you are applying to offers scholarships. For example, if you were applying for a course at AIT, then take a look at the initiAIT scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to domestic students who complete a task to demonstrate their creative passion and problem-solving skills. The recipients receive a 50% discount off their tuition fees in the first and last term of their Bachelor degree. 


Final Exams and Waiting for Results (The Ordeal)

You’ve been working towards this all year, and now it’s time to take those final exams and endure the ordeal of waiting for your results.


The Results Are In (Reward) 

ATARs will be released in December. This is the scene where you can expect the tempo to change as you experience a flood of emotions. You might be excited, nervous, or stressed as you wait for results, and those results might leave you happy, disappointed, or relieved. This is a pivotal point in your journey, but it isn’t the end. 

Just remember, your ATAR doesn’t determine your future. 


Act Three – Return

Waiting for Offers (The Road Back)

Now that you have your results, you probably have a good idea of the courses that you can get into. The first round of offers won’t be released until January, so you may want to rethink your course applications if you didn’t receive the ATAR you were hoping for.


Changing Your Preferences (Resurrection)

Even if you haven’t received the ATAR you need to enter your dream course at your chosen institution, it’s not the end.  If you applied through VTAC or another tertiary admissions centre, and you do want to change your course preferences, then make sure you do this as soon as possible after receiving your results, as there are only limited windows in which this option is available.

If you now want to apply directly for a different course, then simply contact the education provider to make sure you haven’t missed the cut off date. 


Receive Offers and Enrol in Your Course (Return with the Elixir)

For students who applied through tertiary admissions centres, offers will be released in rounds. A few courses will make offers in December, but the main round takes place in January. 

If you applied directly, and you have already received your offer, then this is the time to finalise your enrolment by supplying your certificate of Year 12 completion. 

This is the stage of the journey when the hero returns home changed. For you, offer in hand, it might just be the start of the next adventure.