TODAY many Higher School Certificate students at Dubbo will be waking up to read a text message, go online or make a phone call that will, undoubtedly, change their lives.
It is the day year 12 students at Dubbo have been waiting for - the day they learn their HSC results and begin the next chapter of their lives.
Students will find out if they are on the 2012 merit list, which includes the first in course (a student who comes first in any HSC course - providing their results are in the top band), top achievers in course (students who are in the top places in each course), distinguished achievers (students who have received a top band result in one or more HSC course) and all-round achievers (students who are distinguished achievers for courses totalling 10 or more units).
For many, finishing year 12 means relief and excitement for the future. But it can also mean students receiving results lower than expected, which can do much to one's self-esteem.
Parent Line NSW, which is funded by the state government, is the only 24-seven telephone counselling service in the state that provides support to parents with teenagers finishing high school.
Tarja Malone, Parent Line manager, said scoring poorly in the HSC could be a massive shock to young people and was often one of the first major disappointments they may experience in life.
"Receiving a low ATAR after working so hard and putting in so much effort can be absolutely devastating," she said.
"But it's important that students, and parents, realise it's not the end of the world. If we can get young people to shift their thinking, and realise there are unlimited opportunities no matter where their strengths lie, it will make a huge difference."
She said it was critical that students weren't left behind as a consequence of disappointing HSC results.
"Parents and students often feel that if they haven't reached a certain benchmark then they've failed, but the truth is society needs everyone," she said.
“Going to university isn’t the only path to success. A low ATAR is no reason to feel ashamed or guilty.”
All students are urged to speak to their school careers councillors if they feel strongly about their ATAR and study scores.
Ms Malone said students needed to put an emphasis on the fact that they’ve finished school and not just the ATAR they have received.
“When the intensity of the disappointment has settled, it’s important that students are encouraged to take some time and think about what they can learn from the situation,” she said.