In Summary

While the arrival of ATAR results is often a stressful experience for students, the worries of parents are often overlooked. There is a lot of pressure on parents to provide their child with the right advice and to encourage them without seeming like you are telling them what to do.

The best way to help your child without facing accusations of interference is to be their support network. This could involve helping them locate information about courses and universities, accompanying them to university Change of Preference events, or simply being positive about their course and career decisions.

Listen and learn

Some parents find it tempting to try to direct their child’s choice of university or course. This is understandable and stems from a desire to do what’s best for their child, but it is ultimately unhelpful and unproductive. A child who undertakes a degree that doesn’t interest them is more likely to drop out, resent their choice or change focus mid-course. Listening to what your child needs and wants is critical; it is ultimately their education and their career. What parents can do is find out as much information as possible so they are able to help out when asked.

On the right path

Receiving a lower-than-expected ATAR can be pretty devastating, but if your child doesn’t achieve the result they were hoping for it is important to remember that this is not the end of the world. While they may not gain automatic entry to the degree of their choice, there are plenty of pathway opportunities to help students find alternate ways to achieve their goals. For example, completing a diploma in a relevant field is a great way to transition into their preferred degree.

Best of both worlds

At the end of 13 years of school, many students find the idea of more study unappealing and would rather take a gap year. If you find that your child is in this position, a good compromise is the chance to study abroad. Not only does a study abroad program provide an opportunity to experience different cultures and ways of life, it also allows students to progress towards their career goals. A year or semester overseas is also a great way to develop their sense of autonomy and gain credit towards their course. Swinburne has over 100 partner institutions in more than 20 countries so there is bound to be something that will appeal to your child.

Industry links and graduate outcomes

When choosing between the different universities on offer, you will want to know that your child will be prepared for a career when they graduate. Strong industry links, a curriculum shaped by industry representatives and teachers who are highly active in their fields are all important. Swinburne offers all of these to students, as well as an Industry-Based Learning program, which gives students access to paid work placements.

Every parent wants their child to be happy at university and beyond, so choosing a university with strong credentials is vital. The QS World University Rankings awarded Swinburne five stars for graduate employability and The Good Universities Guide 2015 gave it five stars for graduate satisfaction. Knowing that your child is receiving excellent preparation for employment is a comfort to any parent.


Deciding on the right university and degree can be difficult, but being informed is the best preparation. Attend Swinburne's Change of Preference events to find out more and have any questions answered.