Year 12 can be an anxious time with pressure from parents and teachers (not to mention looming exams).

But don’t let the stress get to your head when it comes to picking your uni preferences – look out for these three common mistakes you don’t want to make.

1. You pick the courses with the highest entry ATARs rather than the courses you actually want to do

This is a mistake many Year 12 students make. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re ‘wasting’ your ATAR if you don’t squeeze every last decimal out of it to get into a course (especially one that you may not even be that interested in).

There’s no point starting a course that you only applied for because it was highly competitive. You’re less likely to succeed if you’re not passionate about the study area.

Besides, no one will even care what your score was in a year or two and ATAR doesn’t define you or your future. In fact, this is one of VU’s core beliefs – that’s why ATAR is no longer a consideration for many VU degrees.

Prioritise the courses you are genuinely passionate about.

2. You pick the uni that your parents or teachers think is the most prestigious, even though you know it’s not the right one for you

Every university has something wonderful to offer a particular range of students. But no one can make your uni choice for you better than you can make it for yourself. There are many things to consider when you’re picking the unis for your preference list.

Here are a few good questions to ask yourself:

These things can be more important for your future success than having a particular uni logo on your results sheet.

Campus based support services can be a game changer for your success at uni.

3. You panic about not getting your preference list 100% right

Take a deep breath – everything’s going to be okay.

After you submit your preference list, your decision doesn’t have to be final. You’ll still have the chance to change and shuffle your preferences in December, after you get your VCE results.

Even when you start uni – if you didn’t get into your first choice or you find that the course you picked isn’t right for you after all – there are always opportunities to transfer between courses and find the right pathway to your study and career goals.

Don't stress - there's always time to change your study direction.

Find out why VU is a great uni to preference