Teens & Parents, There's Life After HSC & ATAR! – Hope 103.2

Teens & Parents, There’s Life After HSC & ATAR!

Adolescent experts are urging the class of 2015 - and their parents - not to overreact, as they receive their Higher School Certificate results and ATARs.

By Clare BruceWednesday 16 Dec 2015NewsReading Time: 4 minutes

Listen: Adolescent psychologist Andrew Fuller shares some tips with Clare Chate, for HSC graduates and their parents.

Adolescent experts are urging the class of 2015 – and their parents – not to overreact, as Higher School Certificate results arrive today.

The HSC marks have been texted and emailed to students today starting from 6am, while their ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks) will be available online from 9am tomorrow (Thursday, December 17).

Andrew Fuller, a renowned Australian adolescent psychologist and author, chatted to Hope 103.2 about the importance of having a level head when HSC results arrive.

He said teens and parents should avoid despairing over results that are less than expected, but also be careful not to overdo the celebrations for great marks too.

Take A Deep Breath, Don’t Overreact

“We know levels of anxiety during year 12 are enormously high,” Andrew Fuller said.

“About 64% of kids we’ve surveyed through my group Resilient Youth Australia, have almost clinical levels of anxiety disorder.

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“And when we’re a bit hyper, we don’t always think and reason through things as well as we can. So the first thing is to not trust your own first reaction.

“It’s been such a big year that the results whether they’re good or bad can be overblown in your mind a bit. So it’s good to let them sink in for a day or two, talk about them a bit.

“If they weren’t as you hoped they’d be, think about what that means to you rather than leaping to any particular conclusion for a day or two.”

Focus More On Students’ Wellbeing Than Their Results

Teen girl sitting on her bed contemplating looking at her phone

Andrew said that while it’s tempting for Year 12 graduates to compare their results with those of everyone in their class, it’s healthier to check on their friends’ wellbeing instead.

“It’s better to ask “how are you feeling”,” he said. “Just be encouraging, whether your friend got the mark they really wanted or were disappointed. Remind them that whatever happened, it’s going to be ok.

“This isn’t the end, it’s the start of another journey. And there’s different ways of getting to the outcomes you want.”

The same advice applies to parents, he said.

“You might be feeling disappointed for your young person, you might also be feeling really happy, but it’s important to allow that initial rush of whatever you’re feeling to pass, so you can then start to plan.

“Don’t get too swept up in the giddy heights of success, nor in the pools of despair. Neither are particularly valuable.”

If your student is troubled about their results, be reassuring. “Tell them, “We’re going to work something out”,” Andrew said.

Research Your Options – There Are Plenty!

Teen girl sitting on a daybed using laptop

After a day or two, when you have a clearer head, it’s time to start doing some research, said Andrew.

There’s always more than one way to get into the career you want, so if your results weren’t what you hoped for, it’s not time to give up.

“There are many pathways into many courses that don’t require Year 12 results,” he said. “It’s possible to go back and do additional subjects, it’s possible to go and get life experience and apply as a mature entry person.

“There are also jobs of course, and some people would say starting a business is a good way to get experience too.”

Remember, University Isn’t Everything

It’s important to remember that university isn’t necessarily an instant ticket into your dream job anyway, Andrew added.

“Many people point out that getting a degree isn’t a guarantee of getting a job,” he said. “Education, while valuable, is never the only way of getting into something. There’s different ways of doing this.”

Counselling Can Really Help

Teenage boy looking out window, contemplating

For students who are really struggling with strong or uncontrollable emotions over their HSC results or ATAR, it may be time to get counselling, said Andrew.

“In our lives there are times for all of us we get into loops where we’re going around and around, and can’t get out of it,” he said. “And having an outside person, whether it’s a professional mental health person, or a trusted person you know who can help you see things differently, is valuable at any stage of life.

“Sometimes a really uninvolved person, who can have a cool-headed look at it, can make a big difference.”

About Andrew Fuller

Andrew Fuller is an adolescent pyschologist and author of books such as Tricky Teens and Help Your Child Succeed At School. Find out more about his work at AndrewFuller.com.au.