HASHELA Kumarawansa won't soon forget the 17th of January - the day she was offered a place studying journalism at RMIT.
Her Australian tertiary admission rank of 91 was below the clearly-in range of 96.25 but a portfolio of work amassed partly through her time with The Under Age helped secure her first preference and move her closer to one day becoming a newsreader. She was ''over the moon'' when she logged on to the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre website.
Hashela is one of six school leavers Fairfax Media followed as part of its Year 12 Club series.
All six are happily bound for their first preference courses in fields, including science, business, media and arboriculture.
Phillip Kareroa, who completed the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, was forced to head to a fast food restaurant to learn he had been accepted into youth work at RMIT.
''My internet just died so I went to Starbucks and there was no free Wi-Fi there, so then I went to Hungry Jack's,'' Phillip said. ''None of my family ever went to university so it was quite exciting.'' After he found out, Phillip called his sister.
''She was about to cry and I was just excited. I was like, 'Oh my gosh I can't believe I got in.'''
Since examiners called ''pens down'' the Year 12 Club have been relaxing, travelling, cleaning and beginning the job hunt.
''I need to earn some money because I will have to afford my own food and rent and all those I'm not quite used to yet,'' Clara Haberberger said.
She hopes a bartending course will lead to hospitality work for six months before she begins an arts and sciences degree at Leiden University College in The Hague. ''It's the international city of peace and justice and it really allows me to study my two greatest passions, politics and languages, which will hopefully lead me to the UN and interpreting there.''
Miranda Zhang's International Baccalaureate score of 44 out of 45 meant she was assured her first preference of commerce at Melbourne University, but that was little consolation as the VTAC website clunked along under the weight of thousands of visitors. ''I checked Facebook to see if it was just me, but so many of my friends were saying 'VTAC, you should know better''', Miranda said.
A text message similar to that which students received in December with their results might be more effective, she said, but in the end the five-minute wait was tolerable.
''We can survive,'' Miranda said. ''We've done year 12.''