Hundreds of year 12 students felt the weight of 13 years of schooling lift off their shoulders this week when early offers were released by Canberra's major universities.
St Francis Xavier College student Abop Akoi said her offer for a place in the bachelor of medical science at Australian National University was still sinking in.
"I still can't believe it. I still keep going back into my phone and going to the email, seeing it so that is still true, because this feels unreal," she said.
Isabella Topp wasted no time after finding out she had secured a place in a flexible double degree in languages and law at ANU.
"My friends and I, the afternoon after we got our offers we went straight to ANU to buy ANU hoodies," she said.
Anthony Gambale was surprised to find he had received an offer for advanced computing research and development as his ANU selection rating was higher than he expected.
"I thought I was going to be doing a maths degree, which is around what my estimate was from school, but I ended up getting an offer for this IT degree and I hadn't really considered it," he said.
"I'm going to give it a go and see if I like it."
ANU announced earlier this year it would consider students' year 11 results and their extra-curricular activities in an early round of offers.
On Monday it offered 4745 undergraduate places. Of this 751 offers went to ACT students.
ANU vice-chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said the early round would provide certainty for school leavers who had faced challenges and disruptions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The university gave the most offers to various flexible double degree combinations, followed by the flexible double degree in law and the bachelor of medical science.
Meanwhile, almost 1000 students will be receiving an early offer for a place at the University of Canberra today in a special COVID-19 offer round.
About half of these offers will be going to year 12 students from the ACT.
University of Canberra made the highest number of offers in the bachelor of science followed by the bachelor of primary education and bachelor of biomedical science.
Deputy vice-chancellor and vice-president academic Professor Geoff Crisp said there were other pathways into university, including the schools recommendation scheme, which took into account year 11 results, and the Educational Access Scheme, which would boost students' ATAR scores if they had a parent or guardian receiving JobKeeper or JobSeeker.
"The University of Canberra is committed to ensuring our current students and our future students are not disadvantaged due to the adjustments we have all had to make so far this year," he said.