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A Year 12 guide for parents

Seeing your child survive and thrive at school is one part luck and three parts planning! Here’s a Year 12 guide for parents

Despite there being mountains of books written about the first few years of children’s lives, there are few Year 12 guides for parents. We’re here to help!

Firstly, congratulations, your child has made it to Year 12. It really is the last mile in the marathon of parenting a student.

Here are some key milestones for parents and carers to think about as your child heads into Year 12.

January

Review subject selection and uni/TAFE pathways

As a parent of a Year 12 student you’ll already know there are plenty of hoops to jump through for your child achieve their Year 12 of Higher School Certificate (HSC). You can review exactly what’s required in each location here:

It’s not always an option, (the rules differ depending on which state or territory you live in), but January is probably the last chance you’ll get to make sure your child is studying the subjects they need to get into the course or career they’re keen on.

And if they’ve changed their mind on their study or career path, their subject selection from Year 10 may no longer be the right one.

Many university STEM courses, like engineering, require units of maths and science. And there are also STEM subjects you can do at school that may be worth doing even though they don’t contribute to an ATAR.

I your child is doing super well, some universities allow them to do uni studies while still studying for the HSC. Likewise, your child could be studying towards a certificate qualification at TAFE while still at school.

February

Get into a good study routine

Once Year 12 gets started it’s easy to get swept away in all the extra curricular activities and parties that come with it. So February is a good time to set some study habits. 

Make sure your student has a good location and setup for studying, and has set realistic study times for when they will be productive. You can help here with calendar planning and ensuring there are no clashes of family, sport and study events.

March

Review assessment expectations 

While many Year 12 subjects are assessed via written exams, some will require the delivery of a body of work, performance or project. Finding out early what this work might require will allow you to help your child plan ahead. Having progress milestones can help ensure there are no all nighters in the middle of other deadlines.

If your child has a learning, medical, hearing or vision disability, now’s the time to apply for a disability provision in the HSC. Applications in NSW close April 12.

April

Put exam timetables in your diary

In April, look out for the release of exam timetables. You can find it here for NSW students. Exams typically run from October through to early November. Needless to say, your child will need a buffer before exam dates to do any last-minute study..

Be sure to check out all the helpful resources on offer from both your child’s school and the state government, for example this NSW Government student guide includes past exam papers, along with helpful tips on wellbeing.

August

Enjoy uni/TAFE open days!

If your child is planning uni or TAFE after high school, open days are the best way to get them pumped about uni life. Most happen in August, but check the Careers with STEM website for the full calendar of state-by-state uni and TAFE dates.

Remember, the school you went to may not be the best one for your child, and this is your child’s chance to really get to know the place they might be spending the next three or more years of their life, so give them the space to ask questions without jumping in!

Here’s a handy guide to some questions they might want to ask.

September

Get uni preferences in

By now you and your child will have an idea of their Year 12 performance, and while your child may not be set on where they want to study, now’s the time to get moving with uni preferences. The Universities Admissions Centre has all the key dates – but the TL:DR version is that there are multiple rounds and your child can change their uni preferences right into February/March the following year.

With uni preferences you can have a plan A,B,C, D and beyond, so think big and be sure to review not only the headline of the degree, but the individual subjects, both mandatory and elective, that the degree includes.

Check out all the deadlines on the University Admissions Centre site.

October 

Exam time!

With study opportunities all spent, now’s the time to focus on helping your child through exams, which can be an extremely stressful time. Some top tips from the experts include:

  • Break up study time with exercise or even just a brisk walk
  • Eat well and get enough sleep – your brain will perform better
  • Stay connected with friends and family – checking in on others can also be helpful
  • Take back some control over the situation by writing to-do lists and checking off individual items as you go. And accept the things you can’t control.
  • Remember there are lots of different pathways to study and work, and your ATAR is by no means the last word

December

Exam results and uni offers

By December, chances are your teen will be off partying. Year 12 will be on its way into their distant memory! Until results time…

After receiving their results, your child will also receive uni offers. These will be Round 1 offers, and at this stage your child might be one of a) ecstatic or b) devastated. If your child didn’t get the offer they were keen on, there are still plenty of options to change preferences, right up until the final round of uni offers in March. And even more options to revisit uni later in life, perhaps after a gap year.

There are different dates for offer rounds and when ATARs are released across Australia, so check out all the important dates and deadlines here.

Stay on top of new degrees, careers and scholarships by subscribing to the Careers with STEM newsletter!

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