Let’s reflect on OPs!

On Saturday the 17th of December 2016, my little sister who just graduated high school this year rushed into my room at 5:00am and excitedly showed me the OP she had received on her iPhone. Myself, in my sleep deprived and half-awake state, was vaguely aware of what was going on and congratulated her on getting the OP she was aiming for.

Three hours later, when I actually fully woke up, I was filled to the brim with excitement for my little sister. Over the past five years of high-school she had worked so hard, and to be rewarded with the OP she was aiming for was the cherry on top of those numerous years of late night study, the day-before-exam cramming sessions and countless assignments that seemed never ending. I’m so incredibly proud of her.

This sequence of events prompted me to reflect on my experiences with OPs. For anyone that does not know, OP stands for Overall Position, and it is the formal grading criteria used for Queensland High School students in accordance with the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE). Students who are aiming to extend their education into university studies or vocational educational studies after completion of high school usually undertake OP subjects. Your OP is usually calculated by combining your QCS score, the weight of the subjects studied in high school and the grades achieved, and any additional certifications and qualifications achieved throughout high school, such as TAFE studies.

Three years ago I received my OP. Since Year 9 I always had wanted to attend QUT and study a double degree in Interactive and Visual Design and Business. At the time of applying for this degree in 2013, the OP cut-off for this bachelor’s degree was 9, if I remember correctly. So, all throughout high school I aimed to receive the best grades I could in order to meet the OP 9 cut-off and be granted admission into QUT. I can remember sitting at my family’s desktop computer in mid-December 2013 with my fingers crossed under the table anxiously awaiting OPs to be released; frantically refreshing the page. Then, there it was, standing out on the monitor was a large, bold number; the number seven. I had received an OP 7. I was extremely relieved and extremely proud of myself; those five years of hard work paid off and I was guaranteed a place in QUT’s Bachelor of Interactive and Visual Design/Bachelor of Business commencing February 2014.

This is not the moral of the story though. Sure, hard work usually pays off, but if you’re currently in the situation where you did not receive the OP you were hoping for, remember that OP admission is NOT the only way to make your dreams and study plans a reality. You have other options including:

  1. TAFE to University Pathways

I have a wealth of friends that are now studying at a university that they received admission into QUT via TAFE pathways. A choice that you have is to study a certificate or diploma in your selected field through a TAFE organisation, then study at university.

  1. Industry Experience and Accreditation

Universities look at previous employment history and industry knowledge when it comes to admission into a course. If you have work experience in an industry prior to your study plans, this is also a way to be granted into be granted a place in a course.

  1. Apply for a different course, and then transfer

The neat thing about university is that once you have completed a year of study, you can usually transfer into another course. Keep in mind it’s easier to do this if you study something related to your preferred course. The best way to do this is to check whether the two courses (the one you study for a year, and the preferred one you wish to get into after) have subjects in common.

The moral of this post is that no matter what OP you received this year, just know that there are always opportunities to live your dreams and study towards a career that you want to pursue. If you have any questions, QUT has more information on these options here.

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