Overcoming her ATAR to thrive as a future designer

Penelope Chen
Penelope Chen

When Baulkham Hills High School graduate Penelope Chen received her Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR), she thought she would never realise her dream of becoming a User Experience Designer.

“My gut dropped when I received my ATAR,” she said.” I felt very disappointed. The day I received it, I was panicking and I did not consider non-ATAR options. I spent the whole day playing volleyball to take my mind off things,” Penelope said.

She had found the last two years of school challenging as her interests were in more creative areas, and only just missed the ATAR needed.  “I only missed out on getting into a UTS design degree by one mark,” she noted.

“The HSC was a very stressful process,” she reflects. “The competition was intense at high school because everybody was focused purely on maximising exam marks to get into professional services or occupations such as law, engineering and medicine.

“Then there was me, who wanted to do something creative.”

Penelope found a new path to realise her ideal career, and now having completed a Diploma of Design at UTS Insearch this year, will continue her study at UTS in the Bachelor of Visual Communications in 2018.

“I feel like I am on a new journey. I want to connect all of the dots of my experience - coding, marketing, and painting - into a career. It would be in role that inspires other people to help each other and build each other’s capabilities. That would be my definition of success,” she said.

Read more about Penelope in the Sydney Morning Herald.