3, 2, 1... into the future - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Parent Lounge Update

3, 2, 1... into the future

11 Dec 2019

Some pretty important numbers are about to hit the streets, and their arrival has been hotly anticipated. It is like 12 years of schooling condensed into one number.

Yes folks, its OP time.

Those who receive an OP will roam the streets and social media as a numeral – as a four or a 13 or an eight.

But hopefully, that number identity will only last a little while, and I say this, because, while those numbers are important, and, yes, they are important, they are still just numbers.

Whatever number you receive, it will not define you for the rest of your life. Your OP number doesn’t recognise your ability to play tennis, or what a good friend you can be, or how much your dog likes you, or how well you can play the ukulele – although I think we all agree there should be a number for that!

I have had four children study and obtain an OP number - all ‘good’ ones too.

I could tell you, roughly, the OP that each of my children received. But if you asked me about my children, I would rather tell you about the fun we’ve had camping at Mon Repo, the hundreds of trees we have planted together, the cakes we’ve made, the holidays we’ve had, and how fabulously they have all achieved in their lives. I would tell you my children have grown up and one is a teacher, another a scientist, another a solicitor, and my youngest, a university student.

I would tell you how proud I am of each of my children.

But the exact OP each of them received? Yeah, not so much. I do remember that those numbers were incredibly important at the time. But I was aware that whatever the OP was, it did not represent my whole child or their entire future.

Now I tell you this, because I have seen students, and parents, focus so much on that one number and stress about it. Don’t get me wrong, the OP relates to a student’s entrance to tertiary study and I encourage all high school students to study hard and get the best OP they can. But getting the ‘right’ OP is definitely not the only way to gain entry to study at university. The ‘right’ OP might be the easiest way, but there are many pathways to get into university and USC will help you find just the right one.

If you didn’t get the OP you were hoping for you can enrol in another program, get good marks, a strong Grade Point Average and change into studying the program which was your first preference. I know a student who did exactly that, they have now graduated and have their dream job. How? Speak to USC’s Student Central team for advice on the best pathways. Don’t forget that your child can always change their preferences after their results are released.

You might be eligible for an adjustment. USC operates an Access scheme which offers domestic students applying for most undergraduate programs an opportunity to ‘adjust’ their rank.

If you were ineligible for an OP, you can still go to university. There are so many pathways into university and so many possibilities for your future study. If you don’t meet the entry requirements of your chosen program or would like to improve your academic skills before enrolling in a degree, USC offers the Tertiary Preparation Pathway (TPP) program to help you access university study. Contact USC’s Student Central team to find the pathway and the program which is just right for you.

This is an exciting time for school leavers, and I wish all of you the best and brightest of futures.

Now… where’s my ukulele?

About Dr Janet Lee

Dr Janet Lee received her Doctorate of Creative Arts from USC. She is also mum to four children who have all completed (or are completing) their undergraduate degrees at USC. Janet lives on the Sunshine Coast with two dogs, some very spoilt chickens and her wonderful, noisy family. Janet is a regular contributor to USC's Parent Lounge.

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