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Admissions

Adjustment factors

Often referred to previously as 'bonus points', these are additional points that may be used in combination with an applicant's Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) to derive a person's course Selection Rank.

Adjustments do not change applicants' ATARs, but change their Selection Rank for a course or courses.

Information to be included here includes:

  • Elite Athlete and Performer adjustments available based on the applicant's sporting or artistic prowess.
  • Equity adjustment available based on characteristics associated with disadvantage.
  • Location adjustment available based on the applicant's proximity to the institution offering the course.
  • Subject adjustment available on the basis of the particular relevance to the academic requirements of a higher education course of a secondary subject that the applicant undertook.
  • Maximum adjustment is the total adjustments possible to an applicant's Selection Rank from the combination of all adjustments they are eligible for.
Admission pathway
Any option available to prospective higher education students that will enable them to meet the entry requirements of their chosen courses
Applicant and prospective student

The term applicant and prospective students are used by tertiary admission centres and higher education institutions to describe people at different stages of their application processes.

  • An applicant is generally taken to be a person who has already lodged an application to study a specific course.
  • A prospective student is generally taken to be a person who is thinking about lodging an application to study a particular course but has not yet done so.
Applicant background

The following grouping of applicants is used to help prospective students, family and others easily find the admission information most relevant to their circumstances. The groupings do not themselves determine how an application will be assessed but direct an information seeker to the most useful information.

  • Higher education study: Applicants whose highest level of study enrolment since leaving secondary education is a higher education course, whether at a university or non‐university provider.
  • Vocational education and training (VET) study: Applicants whose highest level of study enrolment since leaving secondary education is a VET course.
  • Work and life experience (includes less recent secondary results): Applicants who left secondary education more than two years previously and have not undertaken VET or higher education study since then.
  • Recent secondary education: Applicants whose admission is based mostly on secondary education undertaken at school, TAFE or other VET or higher education provider (Australian or overseas equivalent) that was completed (or will be) in the current year or within the previous two years.
Applicant group A: Higher education study

Applicants whose highest level of study enrolment since leaving secondary education is a HE course including:

  • study at university and non‐university higher education providers, whether recent (transfers) or some time ago.
  • students who have completed a bridging or enabling course delivered by or on behalf of a higher education provider.
Applicant group B: Vocational education and training (VET) study

Applicants whose highest level of study enrolment since leaving secondary education is a VET course including study at a public TAFE or other VET provider, whether a qualification was completed or not.

Note these students may have other qualifications such as Year 10 or Year 12 secondary school certificate.
Applicant group C: Work and life experience (including less recent secondary results)

Applicants who left secondary education more than two years previously (i.e. who are not classified as recent secondary education applicants) and have not undertaken VET or higher education study since then.

  • 'Experience' could include a combination of factors sufficient to demonstrate readiness for higher education. Includes mature age entry, professional experience whether completion of the Special Tertiary Admission Test (STAT) is required or not, community involvement or work experience.
  • Applicants may have undertaken non-formal programs that have helped prepare them for tertiary education or are relevant to the proposed higher education field of study.
ATAR related thresholds

ATAR related thresholds: (where relevant - not all institutions use ATAR to determine eligibility. Different institutions may use only some of the following types of eligibility thresholds)

  • Lowest ATAR to which an offer was made: the lowest 'raw' or unadjusted ATAR of an applicant to which an offer of a place was made in the relevant year or year-to-date.
  • Lowest Selection Rank to which an offer was made: The lowest Selection Rank of an applicant to which an offer of a place was made in the relevant year or year-to-date (including the consideration of any adjustments the applicant may have been eligible for).
  • Minimum ATAR [or Selection Rank] required for consideration to enter in next intake: For use where a threshold minimum ATAR or Selection Rank must be achieved to be considered for admission to a course or institution.
  • Guaranteed Entry ATAR [or Selection Rank]: Where achievement of a specified ATAR or Selection Rank (as appropriate) will guarantee acceptance into a course or institution, subject to any non-ATAR criteria being met, such as prerequisite study or English language proficiency.
Bridging course
A course which assists students to gain knowledge in specialist areas that are a core component of the course. If a course requires a prerequisite in an area that students have not studied or worked with before, a bridging course will help students to bridge the gap in that knowledge and gain admission.
Direct application
Application made to a higher education provider rather than through a tertiary admission centre.
Early offer
Where an offer of enrolment is made to a recent secondary school student prior to release of ATARs or equivalent (e.g. OP in Queensland, IB). Such offers are generally conditional on other requirements being met, such as successful completion of a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or achievement of a specified minimum ATAR.
Enabling course
A course designed to provide students with skills needed for success in further study, to assist in the transition to tertiary education - for example study techniques or English language skills. Successful completion helps prepare a person to be admitted to a course that leads to a higher education award.
Experience based entry scheme
A selection method used by higher education providers to assess and select students who may not have educational qualifications sufficient for an offer of admission to a course but who have other relevant work and life skills and experience that make them a suitable candidate.
Guaranteed Entry ATAR (or Selection Rank)
For use where achievement of a specified ATAR or Selection Rank (as appropriate) will guarantee acceptance into a course or institution, subject to any non‐ATAR criteria being met, such as prerequisite study or English language proficiency.
International Baccalaureate

The IB is an international educational foundation founded in 1968 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. The IB Diploma program is a senior secondary education curriculum and assessment framework offered by some schools as an alternative to the Australian National Curriculum and overseen by state and territory curriculum and assessment authorities.

Australian tertiary admission centres convert IB scores to a notional ATAR or QTAC Selection Rank (not an OP), enabling IB students to be ranked for tertiary entrance alongside their peers.
Lowest ATAR to which an offer was made

The lowest 'raw' ATAR or unadjusted ATAR of an applicant to which an offer of a place was made in the relevant year or year-to-date.

Note: this figure must consider all offers made regardless of whether the Selection Rank was increased through equity or other adjustments or where the ATAR threshold may have been lowered due to equity considerations. It is not just the figure for those who had no adjustments applied.
Lowest Selection Rank to which an offer was made
The lowest Selection Rank of an applicant to which an offer of a place was made in the relevant year or year‐to‐date (including the consideration of any adjustments the applicant may have been eligible for).
Minimum ATAR or Selection Rank required for consideration to enter in next intake
For use where a threshold minimum ATAR or Selection Rank must be achieved to be considered for admission to a course or institution.
Offer rounds
Refers to the series of dates on which offers of higher education places are issued to applicants throughout the year, whether through a tertiary admission centre or directly by a higher education provider.
Recent secondary education

Applicants whose admission is based mostly on secondary education undertaken at school, TAFE or other VET or higher education provider (Australian or overseas equivalent) that was (or will be) completed either in the current year or within the previous three years.

  • For example, data for 'recent secondary education' cohorts that commenced higher education in 2017 would include those students who completed secondary education in 2016, 2015 and 2014.
  • This group includes students who may have undertaken or completed some VET or higher education study while still at school.
  • Includes applicants whose secondary education was undertaken interstate or overseas.
Recognition of prior learning (RPL)
A process used to assess an individual's relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non‐formal learning) to determine the credit that may be granted towards completion of a qualification (adapted from Australian Qualifications Framework definition).
School recommendation
A recommendation from a school or other secondary education provider on the abilities of a student. Previously referred to by some as a principal's recommendation.
Selection Rank
The ranking that tertiary admission centres and most universities use to assess admission to a course. A person's course Selection Rank can include their ATAR, any adjustments they are eligible for, such as equity or subject adjustments, other contributions calculated on the basis of work experience or previous nonsecondary study, portfolio assessments, results of the Special Tertiary Admissions Test, other supplementary tests, etc
TAC application
Application made through a tertiary admission centre, namely QTAC, UAC, VTAC, SATAC, TISC and University of Tasmania, in relation to applications to study in that state.
ATAR

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a ranking from 0.00 (lowest) to 99.95 (highest) agreed by COAG as a nationally equivalent measure of a person's relative academic ranking within their complete age cohort in the year they graduated from senior secondary school. (This includes students who did not complete Year 12, completed but did not qualify for an ATAR, or had already previously left school, who account for around 30% of the age cohort.)

The ATAR is derived from the scaled scores achieved for senior secondary school subjects. The specific calculation used is different in each state and territory but the result is designed to be nationally equivalent.
Credit transfer
A process that provides students with agreed and consistent credit outcomes for components of a qualification based on identified equivalence in content and learning outcomes between matched qualifications (Australian Qualifications Framework definition).
Advanced Standing
A form of credit for any previous learning (Australian Qualifications Framework definition) - see also the definitions for 'credit transfer' and 'recognition of prior learning'.
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