Blogs (ALC) (Career Inspiration Articles)

Student spotlight – Athena ​​​​​​​Whithnall

The 19-year-old from Kanahooka has gone from leaving school unfinished and facing ​​​​​​​uncertain future, to gaining an ATAR equivalent of 98 at TAFE NSW Wollongong.

 Student spotlight – Athena ​​​​​​​Whithnall

Athena was forced to leave school in Year 11 to establish a health management plan to cope with the symptoms of fibromyalgia; pain over much of her body, vertigo, headaches, fatigue and anxiety.

It took about two years to establish a plan to a point where she could live day-to-day without pain.

Once her conditions were under better control she decided to find a way to catch up and complete her high school qualifications, in the hope of gaining entry into university.

“Once I had a stable health plan I was keen to get straight back to study with a goal of enrolling in linguistics.

“I had missed my HSC and was looking for options online, that’s how I came across the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation (TPC) at TAFE NSW, which sounded perfect for me.” The TPC is a year 12 equivalent qualification available to study full-time, part-time or online through TAFE Digital.

Athena said the teachers supported her through the course but she worked hard to earn her marks.

“To receive high marks has been good for my confidence and my happiness. It’s good for me to know I can push through my health issues to achieve goals.

“I remember getting my mathematics result and it was 98 per cent, it was such a relief. It’s not just about studying each subject we were also taught skills to use in further study.”

Athena received the knowledge and practical experience she needed to successfully apply for tertiary study, the TPC also provided a one-year shortcut to university.

“My raw marks were so good I received a university offer before my scaled marks were in.”

Athena said she had talked her sister into enrolling in the TPC.

“For students who don’t do well in the HSC and want a higher mark, TAFE NSW is the one place where you’re going to find teachers who can tailor the learning around how you think.”

The TPC is offered at 30 TAFE NSW locations across the state and online through TAFE Digital. Choose to study full-time, part-time or through flexible learning options.

7 reasons to study a TPC

1. You missed out on your HSC

2. You want to achieve a higher entrance score for entry into a degree course

3. You enjoy skills-based learning with discipline-specific content

4. You want a one-year fast-track program to get into uni

5. You like to study in an adult learning environment

6. You would like to join the Australian Defence or Police forces

7. You are applying to Western Sydney University or Charles Sturt University where we have guaranteed entry into many bachelor programs*

*For Western Sydney University applicants, TPC graduates gaining a TES (Tertiary Entrance Score) of 168 out of 300 or higher, and for Charles Sturt University applicants (a TES of 157 out of 300 or higher

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