What NOT to say to school-leavers who get their results this week.

Today, Victoria’s grade 12 students received their HSC results while parents, siblings and friends around the country shoved their feet into their mouths.

What do you say to someone who has just spent the better part of their teenage years working towards two-point-two little numbers?

Something nice. Something polite. Something that has nothing to do with their final score.

This week is D-Day for students around Australia as our latest generation of school-leavers receive their much anticipated end of year results, and we’re here to give you some advice on how NOT to upset your/someone else’s teen.

For the past two years the graduating students of 2015 have worked tirelessly to earn the HSC result they needed to get into uni. They have slogged away long nights studying, endured countless meetings with career counselors, and juggled some major blood pressure spikes as they sat exam after marathon exam.

These kids deserve a whole lot more than a Vodka Cruiser hangover at Schoolies. They deserve a bloody medal.

And yet, as the results are released, most of us manage to say something insensitive to completely undermine all of their hard work.


You might be trying to help, but for these strung-out, stressed, and sleep deprived teens – you’re REALLY ANNOYING.


Here is our list of what to avoid when interacting with a school-leaver over the next few weeks.


#1. Anything that begins with ‘Oh well!’

This includes (but is not limited to):

  • “Oh well! The main thing is you did your best.”
  • “Oh well! You didn’t need a high grade to get into your course anyway.”
  • “Oh well! At least you didn’t fail.”
  • “Oh well! I did way worse than that, and look at me now.”



#2. Downplaying the results.

The second thing to avoid is trying to convince them that the HSC is just some kind of elaborate scam. For them, it’s very real.


We’re talking about those well-worn lines – “Never mind, the grade doesn’t matter in the long run” or, even worse, “I never even needed my HSC result!” Good for you, Rainman – but for most high school leavers, their HSC result is a ticket to their chosen career.

Try and avoid, “Are you happy with your score?” Most of the time the answer is ‘no’, and you, kind stranger, ARE MAKING IT WORSE.


#3: Bringing up the F Word. (‘Future’)

The question, “What are you going to do next year?” is another big no-no. For the last 12 years of their life, these kids have lived a 9am to 3pm routine that dictates everything from when they are allowed to eat to when they are allowed to pee. Do you know what they’re doing next year? Learning how to sleep in on a Tuesday, prepare food without a microwave, and address adults by their first name. That’s what.


#4. Hating on the system.

Whether it’s, “You’re more than just a number!” or, “It must be great to be out of the school system” – try and remember that unlike you, these kids actually liked their time at school. They’re still too pepped up on rousing school warcrys and emotional farewells to relate. I mean, it takes a while living in a world without school bells and tuckshop lines to really learn to hate high school. Give them time.


#5. Playing up Option B.

If your teen pal has flunked out and missed their chance to begin Option A, try and stay chill about Option B. Don’t start gushing about how practical TAFE can be, or how a year working at the local grocery store will equip them with great life skills, or try to make the 40 minute drive to the outer-suburbs campus sound OK. It’s not OK. They are sad.



Why don’t you try one of these lines instead?

  • Do you need some summer work?
  • Have you eaten today?
  • How was Schoolies?
  • Tell me more about your school formal.
  • Would you like a beer?

Play it cool, pals.