How your Year 12 qualifications are assessed

If you’ve completed an Australian Year 12 qualification (eg NSW HSC), your admission to most tertiary courses is based on your selection rank, which is usually your ATAR. However, if other factors are taken into consideration, these will be combined with your ATAR to adjust your selection rank and make it higher than your ATAR. These adjustments used to be called ‘bonus points’.

In addition to setting a selection rank, some courses specify course prerequisites (eg completing, or achieving a specified standard in, a particular HSC course), which you have to satisfy before you can be considered for an offer.

Most universities also use other criteria when selecting students. Some courses have additional selection criteria such as a personal statement, a questionnaire, a portfolio of work, an audition, an interview or a test, which are considered together with (or sometimes instead of) your selection rank.

You can find details of any prerequisites or additional selection criteria in the course descriptions via the course search.

Selection ranks

UAC and universities publish the lowest selection rank required by most Year 12 applicants accepted for entry into a course. The lowest selection rank used to be called the cut-off.

The interaction of three factors determine lowest selection ranks:

  • the number of places available in the course
  • the number of applicants for the course
  • the quality of those applicants.

These three factors mean that lowest selection ranks change from year to year and are impossible to predict before applicants are selected for a particular course in a particular year. The selection rank for any course can rise, fall or remain the same and does not represent the average ability of the students accepted for the course.

Lowest selection ranks are not known until selection is actually made during the offer rounds. Therefore, the course search shows the courses available in 2018 but the previous lowest selection ranks (LSR) of Year 12 applicants offered a place in each of those courses (ie in January 2017). The selection ranks required for entry in 2018 will be published in August 2018.

Selection ranks are supplied as a general guide to help you assess your chances of getting into a particular course and decide on your preferences.

Read about selection rank adjustments.

Interstate Year 12 courses and results

Compare your Year 12 courses and results to NSW HSC courses and results to check that you meet any course prerequisites or assumed knowledge and to determine if your selection rank will be adjusted if you perform well in a course.

International Baccalaureate Diploma students

UAC's participating institutions accept the IB Diploma and Bilingual Diploma as equivalent to an Australian Year 12 qualification. If you are attempting the IB Diploma overseas, you may also have to provide proof of English language proficiency.

If you've been awarded the IB Diploma or Bilingual Diploma you'll receive a UAC rank based on your total score; you are not eligible to receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

If you’re attempting the IB Diploma with another secondary qualification (eg NSW HSC, ACT Year 12 Certificate), you must declare details of both qualifications in your UAC application. Where appropriate, UAC will calculate a rank for both qualifications. If both qualifications are completed in the same year, you'll be considered on the basis of the higher of your ATAR or ATAR equivalent and your IB Diploma UAC rank.

An ATAR is only calculated for students sitting an Australian Year 12 qualification in NSW, ACT, South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia who satisfy requirements. Students who sit an Australian Year 12 in Queensland and satisfy requirements will receive an ATAR equivalent.

If you have only completed a DP course (ie part of the IB Diploma Programme rather than the required number of courses and subjects to be awarded the IB Diploma), you won't be eligible for a UAC rank. You may, however, be considered for an offer through UAC where offers are based solely on other selection criteria. Note that this applies to only a very small number of courses. Check with the admissions officers of participating institutions for further information about pathways.

Read more about applying for uni with an IB Diploma.

Non-standard Year 12 students

Non-standard Year 12 programs of study include those completed through:

  • Australian Christian Education
  • Rudolph Steiner Education
  • home schooling
  • the Queensland Senior External Examination.

UAC assesses the Queensland Senior External Examination. For all other non-standard Year 12 studies to be assessable by UAC, you must provide proof of completion of an accredited Year 12 program of study and have sat the American Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) (results from which will be assessed by UAC). 

UAC will also assess results from the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). Contact the admissions offices of the institutions you are applying to for information on acceptance of STAT and on how they will consider your non-standard Year 12 studies. Find out more about STAT at stat.acer.edu.au.