By TOBY WALKER
THOUSANDS of university hopefuls put weeks of anticipation behind them yesterday as offers for tertiary courses in New South Wales were released.
Alexandra Wilson, 17, had been eagerly awaiting to learn if her first preference to study medicine at the University of New South Wales was accepted since leaving McAuley Catholic College last year.
Although her impressive University Admissions Index score of 98.8 wasn't enough to grant her a place, she remained excited to be given her second preference, a place at the University of Newcastle studying communications.
"I was disappointed at first but now that I've woken up and I've got a fresh perspective on it I'm really happy about it," she said.
"I don't really have any friends in Sydney whereas I have quite a few in Newcastle."
The possibility of catching a glimpse of Andrew Johns during a Newcastle Knights training session was an added bonus, according to Alexandra. While she was looking forward to the journey south next month, Alexandra admitted she would be in the minority among her friends, many of whom had elected to move north to attend Brisbane universities for the convenience.
"I think it's just a lifestyle decision for them," she said.
"Brisbane is so much closer than Sydney and so many people have gone up there in the past and enjoyed it, that it motivates their friends and relatives to follow them."
But as 42,000 New South Wales school leavers get ready to start a new chapter of their lives, there are some who have put their tertiary aspirations on hold, at least for the short term.
Former Grafton High School student Lauren Armstrong left last Saturday to spend six months teaching English in a school just outside Tuscany, Italy.