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Phoebe McShane has struggled with remote learning but now has two big things to look forward to.
The year 12 student will soon receive her first COVID-19 jab, and has already been accepted for a teaching degree at La Trobe University.
“I think it just takes a lot of stress off doing super-duper well,” Phoebe said. “It’s nice to know I have something to rely on next year.”
Year 12 student Phoebe McShane has been offered a place for a teaching degree at La Trobe University. “It’s nice to know I have something to rely on next year,” she says.Credit:Paul Jeffers
The class of 2021 are completing their VCE during a pandemic and have endured six periods of remote learning in the past 18 months.
On Sunday, COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said VCE students completing in-person assessments in the coming weeks, in subjects such as music and drama, will be asked to have a COVID-19 test beforehand. Those due to have in-person assessments early this week should get tested within 48 hours of completing their performance, he said.
Year 12 students are the least satisfied with remote learning because of a reduced sense of belonging and missing out on rites of passage, a survey by Independent Schools Victoria reported.
To compensate for the stress and disadvantage of COVID-19, each year 12 student will be assessed and any adverse impacts will be reflected in their ATAR, as happened last year.
And tens of thousands of year 12 students are again expected to request special consideration when applying for university.
Many Victorian universities are also providing early offers, ATAR-free entry to courses and scholarships to encourage students to stick with study in 2022.
RMIT University recently launched an early offer program that allows a student’s skills and life experiences to count towards a course offer.
Swinburne University is offering ATAR-free entry to 41 courses in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts and media.
”Our discussions with year 12 students have told us that many are concerned about receiving the marks they need to study their chosen field, and we are happy to provide this valuable level of support,” Professor Chris Pilgrim said.
Victoria University is providing early offers and financial support to students who are disadvantaged, high performing, relocating to regional Victoria, studying in growth industries, or women in science, technology, engineering and maths.
La Trobe University has introduced two alternative pathways to university study, which acknowledge achievement and potential. “Since their introduction last year 300 students have commenced studies at La Trobe via these alternative pathways,” a spokeswoman said.
Monash University said it enabled students to get into a course if they didn’t reach the course’s lowest selection rank if they had experienced financial disadvantage, lived in a low socio-economic area, were an Indigenous Australian, or attended a Monash list of under-represented schools.
Meanwhile, the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre expects tens of thousands of year 12 students to apply for its special entry access scheme to compensate for the challenges caused by COVID.
The scheme allows universities to effectively increase a student’s ATAR if it falls short of a course’s minimum entry requirement. About two-thirds of last year’s final-year students applied and the admissions centre expects similarly strong demand this year.
Year 12 students had not only been affected by remote learning this year, but also experienced significant disruption in year 11 studies, “which form the foundations of their VCE,” a spokesman said.
Unlike the class of 2020, this year’s final-year students have not had their exams delayed or study designs changed. NSW on Friday delayed its HSC until November due to its large COVID-19 outbreak.
But crucially, there are vaccines this time around. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said last week the government would liaise with schools to ensure year 11 and 12s have at least one dose of a vaccine before exams begin on October 4.
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