Top 50 Year 11 & Year 12 Trailblazer Awards 2023

Be recognised for achievements that go beyond your ATAR 🙌


Applications for 2023 are now closed.

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What are the Trailblazer Awards?

Introducing the Top 50
Year 11 & Year 12 Awards

The Top 50 Year 11 & Year 12 Trailblazer Awards are about celebrating more than just academic achievement or your ATAR. We identify and celebrate students who use their final years of school to make a positive impact in their community.

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Why Apply to be a Trailblazer?

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So much of Year 12 felt like it came down to what number I got at the end of the year, instead of skills I had learned.

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Don't let your ATAR define your success

📚 Senior high isn't just about your ATAR

Art of Smart helps you perform your best, but we realise that the focus on a raw number at the end of high school intensifies pressure on young people, which is why we encourage a holistic approach towards learning.

📈 Study-related anxiety is on the rise

A report by the Black Dog Institute found that one of the top 3 concerns for young people meeting the criteria for a probable mental illness was coping with school or study problems.

University degrees are no longer the gateway to employment

💼 Employers look for skills not degrees

In recent years, there’s been a shift at top firms such as Ernst & Young and PwC who have ended the requirement for candidates to have completed a university degree, allowing senior high students to bypass university and start working.

🌟 Students need broader goals

Art of Smart recognises and helps students set broader goals from a younger age so they can build a diverse set of skills and capabilities that can be adapted to many job opportunities.

Go beyond adding your ATAR to your resume by showcasing your skills via projects and experiences!

Celebrate your enterprise skills 🎉

Meet like-minded individuals 💡

Invest in skills and opportunities that set you up for success

👋 You are more than your marks

At Art of Smart, we help you get the best marks possible, but a narrow focus on marks fails to reward students who invest in broader skills via their own passion projects which is why we focus on broader goals.

✏️ Pave your own way to success

Mike Cannon Brookes and Scott Farquhar, founders of Sydney-based $53 billion software company, Atlassian, dropped out of university to pave their own way to success.

How Does it Work?


Submit an Application

Students must submit a written application by 11th June


Judges Shortlist Students

Judges will select students from a
shortlist by 23rd June


Awards Night

Presentation of awards by
judges on 6th July

Win from a prize pool worth up to $15,000!


A term of tutoring support

Top 10 Trailblazers gain access to a FREE term of tutoring with Art of Smart (valued up to $1,200 each)


Mentored by industry leaders

Top 10 Trailblazers receive 1 on 1 mentoring with industry leaders


Ace your applications

Top 10 Trailblazers get support with an early entry, scholarship or co-op application


Be featured in media

Be featured in articles, videos, podcasts and more that reach over 1 million people


Be recognised as a Trailblazer

Recognition as one of Australia’s Top 50 Trailblazers with holistic excellence


Be awarded for your efforts

All Trailblazers will receive a certificate award to celebrate their achievement

Want to become a Top 50 Year 11 & Year 12 Trailblazer?

Who Should Apply?

We know that traditional academic results don’t define you.

They're not the full picture for success - for students or employers. We're looking for Year 11 and Year 12 students
who have taken initiative and made an impact. You should nominate if you have:


Community Volunteers

Created a project or volunteered in your school or community


Co-curricular Participants

Participated in co-curricular activities including sport, academics or arts


School Leaders

Current Year 12 student who has held a leadership position at school

Award Categories

Apply in one of the following categories:

  • Arts & Music
  • Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Science & Technology
  • Social Impact & Change
  • Environment
  • Sport & Elite Competitions

Be recognised as
1 of 50
Trailblazers across

AOS Student

Our Trailblazer Judges for 2023

  • Hannah Ahn

    Founder of Flair & Co-Founder of Next Chapter

    🚀 A driven entrepreneur on a mission to achieve $1M in ARR before turning 21

    🎨 Ex-Product Manager at Canva (joined the company at age 17)

    📚 Passionate about learning and sharing ideas on entrepreneurship, marcomms, and leading a fulfilling life

  • Dr Matthew Fitzpatrick

    CEO & Founder of Investing for Charity

    💼 Head of eFX Pricing and Flow Trading Models, Financial Markets at Westpac Group

    📊 Attained a PhD in Statistics from the University of Sydney

    💡 Dedicated to increasing the impact of charitable donations and fostering a philanthropic Australia

  • Nivaaz Sehmbhi

    Co-Founder of Insider xyz & Growth Engineer at Immutable

    🔌 Electrical Engineer turned (self-taught) Software Engineer and Web 3 aficionado

    👩‍🔬 Balanced several internships, while pursuing her honours thesis and building her startup

    👥 5+ years leading, mentoring, and liaising in education & engineering

  • Natalie Chandra

    Curator for TEDxSydney & Operations Associate at Champions of Change Coalition

    🎤 Provides a platform for ideas worth spreading

    💼 Ex-Associate at EY

    🧠 Completed an Honours thesis on the non-use of nuclear bombs at the University of Sydney

  • Liz Jackson

    Education Expert

    🌱 Advocate for grassroots entrepreneurship 

    ✊ Passionate about creating supportive and enabling environments for young people to thrive in life & work

    🏫 Taught 3 State-based curriculums and the International Baccalaureate across Public, Independent and Catholic School sectors

Want to become a Top 50 Year 11 & Year 12 Trailblazer?

Watch the 2023 Trailblazer Awards Night!

Have Questions?

Read our Frequently Asked Questions

  • Key Dates
  • Applications
  • Prizes
    • When is the deadline to submit an application?
      Written applications must be submitted by Wednesday, 14th June.
    • When will the shortlist be released?
      Applicants will be shortlisted by Friday, 23rd June.
    • When is the Awards Night?
      The Top 50 Trailblazer Awards Night will be held on Thursday, 6th July. You can register for the Awards night here:
    • Are there any requirements you need to meet in order to apply?
      Yes, there are three.

      1. You must be a current high school student in Year 11 or Year 12.
      2. You must submit your completed nomination form and all supporting documents by the required deadline.
      3. You must make reasonable efforts to be available for the Awards Night on Thursday, 6th July.
    • What sort of student should apply?
      We know that traditional academic results don’t define you. They are not the full picture for success - for students or employers. Instead, we are looking for students who have taken initiative and made an impact. You should nominate if you:

      1. Created a project or volunteered in your school or community
      2. Participated in co-curricular activities including sport, academics or arts.
      3. Held a leadership position such as captain or SRC representative.
    • What can I win as a Top 50 Year 11 & Year 12 Trailblazer?
      - A certificate award to celebrate your achievement
      - An article profile on the Art of Smart website and in local media to build personal brand
      - Attendance at an exclusive webinar event on how to successfully apply for Early Entry, Scholarships, Co-Op, and Cadetships Opportunities
    • What do the Top 10 Trailblazers receive?
      - 1 Term of Tutoring Support with Art of Smart
      - Mentoring session with Art of Smart CEO, Rowan Kunz
      - 1 Early Entry or Scholarship/Co-Op Review
      - The New University Entry Game book
      - Glass trophy award to celebrate their achievement

Art of Smart has been equipping high school students for life after school since 2009

We know school isn’t just about academic success — it’s also about maintaining your wellbeing and answering the difficult question, “What am I going to do with my life when I finish school, and how do I get there?”

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What are you waiting for? Become a Trailblazer!

Send through an application below

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