I recently read a blog post by Jenny Luca which was critical of the way universities select entrants based on a single score. In Victoria the score is called an ATAR score. The post attracted a few comments saying it was a little better in the States where they use other measures as well and another saying entrants once selected were disappointed in the teaching and learning used in universities.
This caused me to reflect on one of my teenage children who has about 12 days to go before he knows what course he has been selected into.
His first choice, a 4 year physiotherapy degree which has limited places, had a far more stringent process requiring him to pass a medical exam (UMAT in Victoria) and based on that score (60 plus) was then was selected for a 45 minute interview by 5 people. Based on these two measures he is most likely placed on a list to await an ATAR score of mid 90’s. He is close we hope.
We too visited the universities open days and career nights at school talking to universities to get an idea of what might suit him. He has 6 other possibly courses that just use an ATAR score and he hopes to do a Masters in Science at another university as his second preference.
In the end I tend to agree with Jenny that a score is not necessarily the best method to select entrants for universities but in most cases its probably the most efficient given the large number of applicants. I remember seeing a number of texts in Boston bookshops on how to write an award winning essay to get into Harvard so a SAT is not enough in that system.
As a parent who is going to go through the whole thing again this year with my second teenage child I’m positive that the home process of talking about possibilities, visiting universities and attending information nights to support possible career processes is absolutely essential to support our children.
I’d be interested in other opinions.