High School Students felt pressured to go to University?

“Do STUDENTS find that High School pressured them to go to University?”

The aim of this research is to determine whether students felt pressured in High School to move straight into University? As an Individual in University you may wonder the different High School experiences that your fellow peers went through compared to your own? Did they complete HSC or a different State equivalent? Did they find these exams and their last year of schooling extremely stressful? I will be conducting research to determine if High Schools are pressuring their senior students into University rather than giving them different alternatives. I plan to interview a variety of students who did and did not finish year 12 along with locations and the difference in schools as possible ways to understand how different High Schools discussed and pushed the post-High School further learning and career opportunities. 

Through Twitter-Polling I reached out to fellow UOW students to get an outlook of their different finishing High School / starting university experience.

From these poll results we can recognise and establish that quite a number or current students moved straight into University after completing High School. We can also see that the majority of these students went through large amounts of stress through year 12, which can be in relation to the pressure that seems to be occurring from High Schools in the like of final ATAR (and other alternative) exams. Another poll showed that they felt they had to figure out what their other post schooling options were on their own with no clear guidance! These questions all set up for building blocks to answer the research question of –  “Do STUDENTS find that High School pressured them to go to University?”

This topic is relevant to students due to the continuing stress that repeats year after year between High School and further education. As well as relevant to current students as a way to propose and push schools to assist their students in demonstrating all post school career pathways and post schooling opportunities. As well the current stress that students currently experience through the online learning environment as shown.

This also relating to students who felt pressured to go to University, changed degrees because they felt pushed to just get into University. The topic is timely as it is a reoccurring issue that continues each year with current students – this means that research topics and statistics are readily available, accessible and updates yearly!

When conducting research I came across a series of articles which discussed the stress of senior high school students – as well as the pressure to go into University. An article by INDAILY (Pisoni, 2018) discusses how these students feel pressure going into a University degree that may not have immediate job outcomes, this seems to add additional stress to these students during their final year of High School in particular the Final Examination. A review article titles “The impact of stress on students in secondary school and higher education” discussed further research that discusses the stress that students go through leading up and through their final examinations. It discusses how students experience on-going stress tends to come from “the pressure to achieve high marks and concerns about receiving poor grades.” (Pascoe, Hetrick and Parker, 2019). In High School students are led to believe that your final examination grades will set you up for all future endeavours post High School, where clearly this is not the case! 

“Previous research indicates that academic-related stress can reduce academic achievement, decrease motivation and increase the risk of school dropout.”

(Pascoe, Hetrick and Parker, 2019).

According to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald, out of the 75,000 students to complete the HSC exams in NSW, 11,000 were offered early entry into University (Chrysanthos, 2019). The University of Wollongong alone had 13,849 commencing first year students in 2019 as shown by Australian Government Higher Education Statistics 2019 Section 1 Commencing students report (Clarke, 2020). Being offered early entry into NSW Universities means a lot less pressure for these students as they are accepted by the universities days before sitting their final exams, this can help in reducing stress levels throughout the exam period, knowing that the University is already waiting for them. Unfortunately not all Universities offer the Early Admission.

Reference List

Chrysanthos, P.S., Natassia (2019). HSC, ATAR results LIVE: NSW Year 12 students receive end of year results. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: [Accessed 17 Mar. 2021].

Clarke, M. (2020). 2019 Section 1 Commencing students – Department of Education, Skills and Employment, Australian Government. [online] Department of Education, Skills and Employment. Available at: [Accessed 18 Mar. 2021].

Pascoe, M.C., Hetrick, S.E. and Parker, A.G. (2019). The impact of stress on students in secondary school and higher education. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth, [online] 25(1), pp.1–9. Available at:

Pisoni, D. (2018). It’s time to end the pressure to go to university. [online] InDaily. Available at: [Accessed 17 Mar. 2021].

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