Chase dream

December 15, 2017

Lauren Atkins says you don't need an ATAR to get the job you want.

As secondary school graduates eagerly await their ATAR score, one past Kyabram student believes it is nothing more than a number.

Lauren Atkins finished school in 2014 after completing a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning at St Augustine’s College.

Having secured a graduate year at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, Ms Atkins was one of the 160 successful applicants in a pool of 900.

And she said her experience was proof there was definitely more than one way for students to get where they wanted.

‘‘I didn’t want the stress and pressure of doing VCE, I started it in Year 11 but thought it was just too much,’’ she said.

‘‘I decided to move into VCAL for my final year and I think there’s a real stigma surrounding it, a lot of people — especially some parents — don’t seem to understand what’s involved in it.

‘‘A lot of people seem to think you won’t be able to get into a university if you complete your VCAL, but it’s not like that.’’

At the start of her final year of high school, Ms Atkins was not sure what she wanted to do, but work experience in aged care helped her realise she wanted to care for others.

She completed a Diploma of Nursing at TAFE, before moving on to study a Bachelor of Nursing at La Trobe University’s Shepparton campus.

While Ms Atkins was studying she worked at the Echuca hospital and Shepparton Retirement Villages as a Division 2 nurse.

Through her experience Ms Atkins learned one important thing.

‘‘Once you finish high school your ATAR doesn’t matter, you can end up exactly where you want,’’ she said.

‘‘It didn’t take me any longer to get through my studies either, some of my friends took a gap year so I’ve finished before they have.’’

Now finished her final year of studies, Ms Atkins is working at the Echuca hospital, before beginning her graduate placement in the neurosurgery and neurotrauma ward at The Alfred.

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