Parent webinar wrap-up: 7 UAC application facts

23 Apr 2024

This is a summary of the key points raised in our March webinar – ATAR Calculation to Application: A Parent's Roadmap to Uni Entry.

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1. What does UAC do?

The Universities Admissions Centre processes applications for 30 different institutions (universities and colleges) across NSW and the ACT and calculates the ATAR for NSW students.

2. What is the ATAR?

  • The ATAR is a number that indicates a student’s position (their rank) across the whole state. Think of it like a running race of Year 12 students: the ATAR is each student’s place in the race and their HSC marks are their race time.
  • The ATAR is simply a tool for universities to select students. It does not define students for the rest of their academic careers.

3. Does a student’s school affect their ATAR calculation?

No, the school a student attends doesn't affect the ATAR calculation.

4. What are the best ways to find courses?

Expos and uni open days are a great way for students to learn more about which university courses interest them. They can also explore undergraduate courses on the UAC website.

5. Do students have to nominate a specific course in their application?

Students need to list at least one course preference to submit a UAC undergraduate application. They can select up to five courses. These can be changed before each offer round.

6. How do university course offers work?

  • Universities control the number of students who get offers to their courses, often using the ATAR. The ATAR is commonly used to select applicants for high-demand courses. Sometimes, universities will consider other factors as well (such as performance in specific Year 12 subjects, living or attending school in a certain area, and challenging circumstances claimed through the Educational Access Scheme). In recognition of these factors, the university might allocate points that sit on top of the student’s ATAR and increase their selection rank for a course.
  • The interaction of three factors determines the lowest selection rank required to receive an offer to a course each year:
    - the number of places available in the course
    - the number of applicants for the course
    - the quality of those applicants.
    Therefore, the lowest selection rank for a course can shift each year.
  • Each UAC course description (which you can access via the UAC course search) shows the lowest selection rank for each course in the previous year. (It will be updated in August to show the selection rank for semester 1, 2024.)

7. What should students do if they can’t get directly into the degree that is their first choice?

There are plenty of pathways into degrees. Many universities offer diploma courses that guarantee entry into the second year of the corresponding degree course. There are hundreds of diploma courses available on UAC’s course search. Each course description should tell you if the course leads to a bachelor program.

Tip: To help students plan ahead, we’ve put together a high-level roadmap with key application, scholarship and early offer dates, plus a guide to info sessions and uni open days. I'm sure you'll find it useful, too!

Watch the full 46-minute webinar on the UAC Digital YouTube channel.