Year 12s escape ATAR stress with early USC offers


Year 12 St Mary's College student Alyssa Dakin

There are still four months to go in 2020, but Year 12 student Alyssa Dakin has already accepted an offer to study Occupational Therapy at USC next year.

The St Mary’s College House Captain is among more than 150 Year 12 students included in the first round of early offers from USC who can put some of the stress of the new ATAR system and COVID-19 learning disruptions behind them.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Helen Bartlett said to help ease pressure on students, USC had fast-tracked its Early Offer Guarantee program, making offers three months earlier than usual, and for the first time introducing weekly offer rounds.  

“With all the disruptions and uncertainty for Year 12 students this year, a USC early offer guarantee can provide students and their families with clarity in their last few months of schooling – long before final results and ATAR scores are released,” Professor Bartlett said.

Interested students still have until 12 October to apply for early entry to more than 100 undergraduate degrees. Some health and science related programs are not available.

“If students can show they are on track to succeed in gaining entry to their preferred USC degree and have the right level of motivation and commitment, they can lock in their study path for 2021 almost immediately,” Professor Bartlett said.

“As well as knowing they have the next step towards their future career in place, as soon as they receive an offer, students can also start to access USC support services, including pre-semester academic skills and career advice.”

Students do not need to be ATAR eligible to apply for early offers, which are made based on the recommendations of school principals. All normal course prerequisites and other program specific requirements still apply.

The final offer round will be on the last day of school for Year 12 students on 20 November.

Alyssa, 18, from Maryborough, said it was a huge relief to already have her university plans mapped out months before graduating from high school.

“Because everything is new and unknown for Year 12 students this year with ATAR and COVID-19 interrupting our learning, receiving this offer just takes away so much uncertainty and stress,” Alyssa said.

“It is a wonderful feeling not to be reliant on your ATAR score and not to have to worry about what still might happen with the pandemic,” she said.

“Instead, you are offered a place at university based on who you are as a person and your potential and talents.”

Alyssa will follow a family tradition of studying at USC when she starts her degree next year.  

Her brother Mitchell is completing his final year of Civil Engineering (Honours) while her sister Mikaela graduated with a Bachelor of Primary Education in 2018 and teaches at Nanango State School.

For details go to

Twins Maddelyn and Gorgia Green, Tamara Chay and Alyssa Dakin from St Mary's College, Maryborough, are among the first students to receive early offers to study at USC in 2021.

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