Applying to university can seem very complicated and tedious. And it is in some ways, but everyone is in the same boat! Remember that there is heaps of help available to help you navigate all this. Use the information below, call or email some universities, contact your State Admissions Centre, and speak to teachers and career advisers at your school. You can absolutely do it!
Lodging an application
Most universities require you to make an application through one of the five state-based Tertiary Admissions Centres (TACs). A small number of institutions require direct application for some courses and programs. You can find more specific instructions on how to apply on each TAC or university website.
UAC: University Admissions Centre for ACT and NSW universities: www.uac.edu.au
SATAC: South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre for SA and NT universities: www.satac.edu.au
QTAC: Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre for Queensland universities: www.qtac.edu.au
VTAC: Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre for Victorian universities: www.vtac.edu.au
TISC: Tertiary Institutions Service Centre for WA: www.tisc.edu.au
Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) / Overall Position The ATAR, or, in Queensland, the ‘Overall Position’, is the primary criterion for entry into most undergraduate university degrees in Australia.
Each uni sets a minimum ATAR for each course, and the cut-off is the ATAR of the person with the lowest ATAR admitted to the course that year. This is seen as the most fair method for student comparison, and as a nationally recognised measure, it is used by universities as the primary basis for admission. This generally means that ATAR cut-offs reflect supply and demand more than the intellectual capacity needed to study the course.
Universities list ATAR cut-offs for each course, and usually, the minimum, median and maximum ATARs of our students who were admitted based on their ATAR or through our alternative entry pathways. Although they can change from year to year, it is a good idea to have a look at these to get an idea of the mark you will need to study the course you want.
When you order your ideal courses on your relevant State Admission Centre preferences form, the system automatically makes you an offer for the highest preference that you qualify for. You will get an offer in preference to someone with a lower ATAR who put the same choice higher on their form.
special entry and educational access schemes
Special entry and educational access schemes help universities to take personal circumstances into consideration when considering university applications. If your education was affected as a result of disadvantage you may be eligible to apply. These schemes have different names in different states. For instance, in Victoria it is called the Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS), and in New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory it is called the Educational Access Scheme (EAS). You will also need to apply for your preferred university course. These application processes can be found online through the Universities Admissions Centre which can be accessed online at: www.uac.edu.au
Special entry and educational access scheme applicants can take the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). It is a single application that is sent to all the courses you've applied to. You can choose a category through which to apply. They provide four categories, including Difficult Circumstances, and Disability or Medical Condition. For example, Category 1: Personal Information and Location, includes ‘Recognition as an Indigenous Australian’, which applies to applicants of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent OR identify as a person of Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage.
Enabling programs are pre-bachelor degrees which prepare you for a university course. Enabling programs are also referred to as Bridging Courses and Tertiary Enabling programs depending on the education provider. Preparation or bridging programs give you a taste of university and prepare you with the skills necessary to do well in your university degree. Many programs are provided at no cost and vary in duration, from several weeks to a year or more. Bachelor degrees are undergraduate university courses, for example, a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
You can also apply to university on the basis of partial or completed Vocational Education and Training (VET) studies. VET studies are skills-based and can often be used as a stepping stone to higher education. VET courses are offered through Registered Training Organisations (e.g. TAFE institutes and private providers). They are also offered through some secondary schools, industry bodies and adult and community education centres. Every university has its own arrangements, and it's worth checking out.