Frequently asked questions

FAQs about university admission criteria

For undergraduate and international applicants

What are selection ranks?

Institutions use selection ranks to select Year 12 students for courses. As a Year 12 student, your selection rank 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’.

How are selection ranks determined?

The interaction of three factors determines selection ranks:

  • the number of places available in the course
  • the number of applicants for the course
  • the quality of those applicants.
Can I get an offer even though my ATAR is below the published selection rank?

Yes. There are a number of reasons why your selection rank may be adjusted, allowing you to get an offer even though your ATAR is below the published selection rank. Read about selection rank adjustments.

If I'm ineligible for a degree course are there other courses I can apply for?

Yes. Most institutions offer pathway courses for applicants who don't meet the entry requirements for degree courses, or who need further support or preparation before studying at degree level. Read about pathways to university.

What do institutions take into account if I've studied since finishing Year 12?

Each institution sets its own admission criteria, including the qualifications it will accept. If you've completed or partially completed a tertiary course, institutions may take any or all of the following into account when considering your application:

  • tertiary studies
  • secondary studies
  • post-secondary studies
  • other relevant factors such as employment experience. 

Read ‘I have completed/partially completed a tertiary course’ in Admission criteria for more information.

Which institutions accept the IB Diploma and Bilingual Diploma?

All of UAC's participating institutions accept the IB Diploma and Bilingual Diploma as equivalent to an Australian Year 12 qualification. Entry into courses is competitive and some courses may have additional selection requirements. Read more about the IB Diploma.

Will I get into university if I’ve never studied before?

There are a number of pathways available for people with no formal qualifications. There are also pathway courses for applicants who don't meet the entry requirements for a degree course. Read about pathways to university.

Will institutions consider my work experience?

Generally speaking, if you are a 2018 Year 12 student the answer is no, but for other applicants it might form part of the selection process. Read about applying with employment experience.

Is it easier to get into uni as a 'mature-age' student?

No. It's a common myth that when you are over 21 you are ‘mature-aged' and you can get into uni based on your age. Your age alone is not enough to get you into uni. Generally, you'll need some kind of qualification before an institution will make you an offer. For example, institutions may look at your Year 12 studies, your results in the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT), or your achievement in various pathways. Read about general admission criteria.

I've done a few different things since leaving school – some study and some work. How am I assessed?

The way your experience is assessed depends on the individual institution's entry criteria. Some institutions will look at everything you've done (including school, even if it was a long time ago) and give each of your qualifications, studies and experience a different weight. Some institutions will focus on just your highest qualification (eg TAFE Certificate IV). For more information, check with the institutions.

When I completed Year 12 I received a UAI (Universities Admissions Index), not an ATAR. What's the difference?

The ATAR replaced the UAI in NSW and the ACT in 2009. The highest rank became an ATAR of 99.95, as opposed to a UAI of 100. The ATAR indicates a student's position in relation to the Year 7 students they began high school with, rather than the Year 10 group. These changes brought NSW and ACT students into line with their interstate peers. The scaling process and the rank order of students remained the same, and the same applicants continued to be selected for the same tertiary courses. All states and territories (except Queensland) have adopted the universal name 'ATAR'. 

Convert your UAI to an ATAR.

For all applicants

I have checked the requirements and I am eligible to apply. Does that mean I’ll automatically get an offer?

No, it’s not enough to just be eligible. You’ll also need to compete against other eligible applicants and your selection will depend on how well you meet the selection criteria for each course.

Can I have my qualifications assessed before I apply?

Yes. UAC’s Qualifications Assessment Service (QAS) provides prospective applicants with an assessment of their qualifications. This may be used as a guide by admissions officers for determining eligibility for courses offered by UAC's participating institutions.

Are there any studies or qualifications that won't get assessed with my application?

Yes. The following courses aren't assessed by UAC:

  • Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificates I and II
  • Statements of Attainment
  • TAFE Statements
  • courses delivered by Australian private providers that are not accredited. Only those courses accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework, or by the relevant state/territory accreditation authority, will be taken into account. Qualifications undertaken with private providers will not be assessed without proof of accreditation for the particular course
  • short courses run by a university (eg Project Management Essentials)
  • other short courses such as First Aid certificates.

If you have undertaken any of these qualifications, you don't need to include them in your application.

I have studied overseas. Can I apply?

Yes, but if you are applying on the basis of overseas secondary or tertiary qualifications only, contact the relevant institution/s to discuss your eligibility before you apply through UAC.

Check to see if your secondary overseas qualifications are commonly accepted or non-assessable.

If you have qualifications from countries where English is not the standard language of instruction, you must provide evidence of English language proficiency.

What if I believe I can demonstrate my proficiency in English but can't find the test or qualification in the institution's requirements?

If you believe you can demonstrate your proficiency in English with a test or qualification that's not included in an institution's ELP requirements, write to the admissions office at each institution to which you're applying and include supporting documentation. The institution will determine if the test or qualification is acceptable and record this decision against your application.

Do not send this information to UAC – we cannot make decisions about your English proficiency on behalf of institutions.