Media releases

University preference statistics for 2021 admissions

08 Dec 2020

THE Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) has released its university preference statistics – a snapshot of applicants’ preferences for study at university in 2021.

When applying for university, applicants are advised to list their preferences in the order they would most like to receive an offer with the course they would most like to do first, followed by the course they would like to do second, and so on. An applicant’s preferences are considered in the order in which they are listed.

The following table shows applicants’ first preferences as at 30 November 2020, however, applicants can change their preferences as often as they wish – and often do – so these numbers change daily.

It is important to note that first preference statistics should be used with caution as an indicator of demand for a particular institution or perceived variations in the quality of institutions.

Year 12 applicants tend to include more preferences than other undergraduate applicants, with many listing the maximum five preferences. In many cases the courses they include as their first and second preferences are ‘wishes’ – courses they would really like to receive an offer for but which, in previous years, had a cut-off higher than the rank they expect to achieve.

Non-Year 12 applicants tend to list fewer than five preferences, often including only two or three preferences in their application. They appear to have more focus, most likely because they have other factors to take into account when selecting their courses – work, family and/or time commitments.

All applicants can change their preferences at any time but most preference changes happen after the release of the ATAR. This year, NSW HSC students receive their ATARs at 9am on Friday 18 December. Based on figures from previous years, UAC expects about 20,000 of these students to change their preferences after receiving their ATAR with a realistic appraisal of courses to which they may qualify for admission.

Download preference statistics for 2021 admissions.

For further information about these statistics, call individual institutions on the numbers given below.


Australian Catholic University

Jen Rosenberg, National Manager, Strategic Communications
(02) 9739 2513, 0407 845 634

Australian National University

James Giggacher, ANU Media
(02) 6125 7979

Charles Sturt University

David Neil, Acting Media Manager
0407 332 718

Macquarie University

Lucy Mowat, Head of Media
(02) 9850 1055

Southern Cross University

Sharlene King, Media Officer
Media unit

University of Canberra

Megan Reeder Hope
0408 826 362

University of New England

Milly Taylor, Manager, Business Intelligence & Data Governance
(02) 6773 2177
Media unit
(02) 6773 2551

University of Newcastle

Lou Morrissey, Deputy Director Communications and Media
(02) 4985 4374, 0419168 940

University of Sydney

Shehana Darda-Teixeira, Director Media and PR
(02) 8627 9104, 0418 238 373

Verity Leatherdale, Manager, Faculty Media and PR
(02) 9351 4312, 0403 067 342

University of Technology Sydney

Terry Clinton, Media & PR Officer
(02) 9514 1623, 0419 293 261

University of Wollongong

Andrew Herring, Media & Public Relations Manager
(02) 4221 5501, 0410 456 676

UNSW Australia

Freya Campbell, Director of Corporate Communications & Government Relations
0412 192 979

Western Sydney University

Amanda Whibley, Manager, Media and Public Relations
(02) 9678 7084, 0418 438 399

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For further information (media only) email or contact:
Diane Jardine, Communications Coordinator, UAC on 0436 459 603, or
Kim Paino, General Manager, Marketing and Engagement, UAC on 0409 155 112.