Each university sets its own ATAR scores and other course-entry requirements.
Most universities have a similar approach to facilitating course entry. ATAR scores are important for recent high-school leavers.
- As a high-school leaver, getting into your preferred university course depends on your ATAR score and, often, on subject grades as well.
- If you are older and don't have a good ATAR score, alternative pathways allow you to get in based on factors such as work experience and completed qualifying courses.
- For post-graduate study, entry depends on university qualifications plus grades.
Differences in ATAR cutoffs across universities are significant.
- The highest cutoffs are generally for prestigious universities based in the major cities.
- Lower cutoffs apply for regional and "regular" universities.
For Australian HSC Graduates
Australian students are given an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) shortly after completing a 2-year Higher School Certificate. It is a score out of 100. Grades and subjects are combined to determine each person's score.
- Although some states don't use the ATAR system, an ATAR-equivalent can be worked out using conversion tables/calculators.
- A high ATAR is like a golden ticket for getting into university courses. Pre-admission interviews/tests are not normally used for Australian courses. And most courses have few or loose requirements about which subjects applicants should have taken at high school. In short, ATARs rule.
- Early in the admissions process, universities publish ATAR course scores. These can generally be interpreted as the scores required for guaranteed admission. The final ATAR score may be lowered if there are spare places, particularly if the initial ATAR cut-off was on the high side (above 70). You can also effectively increase your score if a university makes adjustment factors (bonus points) available to you.
ATAR cut-off scores are shown in the table, demonstrating how hard it is to gain entry to different universities. The list covers popular bachelor degrees such as business/commerce. The top ranked universities, where there is excess demand for places, set the highest ATARs. Less in-demand universities may use ATARs just to establish basic academic requirements.
Indicative ATAR Cutoffs (2021)
The ATAR is what will get you into uni. It stands for Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank... It’s based on rank, not performance. So if you get an ATAR of 80, it means you performed better than 80 per cent of students – you’re in the top 20 per cent!
For International Students
International students need to meet similar course entry requirements to Australian students. The main difference is an extra requirement to demonstrate English language skills.
- To be admitted to an undergraduate course, a foreign student normally must have a grade point average in his or her home country that at least meets the standard set for Australian students. Universities publish these requirements by course and country on their websites.
- Postgraduate courses generally have very similar or the same requirements for Australian and international students.
All foreign students who have not normally studied in English need to demonstrate language skills. This can be done by taking one of several recognised tests, such as IELTS. The required level of English proficiency varies according to the course being applied for.
International students are required to meet the same standards as Australian residents... If English is not your first language or was not the medium of instruction in your secondary or tertiary studies, you're required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language by achieving a prescribed level in an approved English examination or test.