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Advice for parents of Year 12 VCE students

Year 12 is a demanding time, but the pressure reaches an all-time high towards the end of the year as students prepare for and complete final exams. As a parent, you are along for the ride when it comes to Year 12 – you live with a stressed out teen, support them as they study, and help them make decisions about what to do next year. At Deakin University, we talk to thousands of Year 12 students and parents each year about options for university and beyond. This year, we asked our experts for their top tips for parents of Year 12 students during this time.

1. Support your child to pursue their interests.

Further study, travel, work, volunteering – there are so many options available to Year 12s that decision-making about the future can be overwhelming. When considering university courses, we often see students swayed by what they think they ‘should do’ versus what they want to do. While ATARs, career prospects and course durations matter, the number one reason to choose a course should because it’s a field the student is passionate about. Above all else, encourage your child to pursue what they are most interested in.

If they are not sure what they want to do, try using Deakin’s course and career exploration app, where they can look at courses and jobs filtered by interest.

2. Offer a supportive, calm environment for study.

Your child is coming up to the most stressful time of their 13 years at school. Emotions are likely to be high and tempers will get frayed. As a parent all you can do is be there to support them and encourage them to take care of their physical and mental well being. Beyond Blue has some great advice for parents, including how to create a study-friendly home and support a Year 12 as they receive their results.

3. Understand the VCE and tertiary process.

To support your Year 12 through this period it’s useful to have a basic understanding of the VCE and tertiary process and key dates. Your school will likely provide information on the VCE process at the beginning of the school year, and may also have information evenings throughout the year. In addition, the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) has a great blog you can subscribe to for ongoing information.

4. Encourage looking at course opportunities and options.

Before ATARs arrive, encourage your Year 12 to have multiple options mapped out. They may receive a higher or lower result than they expected. If their ATAR doesn’t ensure them a place for their top preference course, it’s important to remember that there are multiple pathways for getting into university courses. It might mean starting in a related course they do qualify for, and then transferring, for example.

Suggest your child apply for scholarships to the universities they are interested in – a scholarship could make a world of difference for their studies. Universities offer a wide variety of scholarships, for example Deakin has scholarships that reward academic success, leadership skills and extra-curricular achievements, and support disadvantage.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask the experts.

As a parent it’s OK to not have all the answers. But there are others who do, so make sure you reach out if you’d like more information. Some excellent resources include: the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre, which takes enquiries and gives periodic updates on Facebook and Twitter; your school’s career practitioner, who will likely allow parents to make appointments; and your local university’s student recruitment team (Deakin’s advisors are available on 1800 693 888 or

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