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Demystifying the ATAR & understanding the UAC International process. July 2010. What is UAC?. Universities Admissions Centre - Admissions to universities in NSW and the ACT (plus AMC, Griffith and LaTrobe) - ATAR release - STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Test)

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Demystifying the ATAR

& understanding

the UAC International process.

July 2010

what is uac
What is UAC?
  • Universities Admissions Centre

- Admissions to universities in NSW and the ACT (plus AMC, Griffith and LaTrobe)

- ATAR release

- STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Test)

  • Information – print and website (
uac international
UAC International

You apply through UAC International if you are an International student doing:

✓ an Australian Year 12

✓ an International Baccalaureate

✓ a New Zealand Certificate of Educational Achievement Level 3


The ATAR is all about POSITION

  • your ATAR is a NUMBER that shows your position relative to other students
  • for example, Thanh’s overall academic performance was good enough to place her in the top 15% in the HSC

ATAR = 85.00

The ATAR is a number between 0.00 and 99.95.

ATARs above 30 are reported in increments of 0.05.


Busting the myths

MYTH: My school or postcode matters.

FACT: The ATAR calculation is based only on marks provided by the Board of Studies.

Regional bonus points may be awarded by some institutions based on postcode areas.


MYTH: The percentage of students in band 6 counts.

FACT: Scaling is calculated using raw marks, not HSC marks (HSC marks are aligned to bands). The percentage of students in performance bands has no effect on the calculation of the ATAR.


MYTH: It is impossible to get a high ATAR if you take a VET course or English Standard.



MYTH:If I do more than 10 units I’ll get a higher ATAR.

FACT: There’s no direct cause & effect.


MYTH:Some courses are always scaled up … some are always scaled down.

FACT: Scaling is carried out afresh each year.

If the ability of the candidates changes the scaled mean will also change.


MYTH: I can work out my ATAR from my HSC marks.

FACT: Scaled marks, not HSC marks are used to calculate the ATAR. The ATAR is not an average mark, it is a rank that indicates your position.


MYTH: If I choose certain courses I will get a high ATAR.

  • FACT: Only if you do really well in all those courses – so well that you are ranked ahead of most other students.


  • MYTH: If I get HSC marks in the 70s then my ATAR will be in the 70s too.
  • FACT: An “average” student will get HSC marks in the 70s. The “average” ATAR in the 2009 HSC was 70.25. Lots of students have marks between 70 and 80, so ranks can be very different at either end.

Fred and Laura

Course HSC mark Percentile HSC mark Percentile

Biology 70 39 80 71

Business Studies 70 35 80 65

English Advanced 70 13 80 53

Mathematics 70 31 80 60

Modern History 70 24 80 63

Visual Arts 70 12 80 51

ATAR 57.80 81.20


step 1 – prepare

step 2 – research

step 3 – apply

step 4 – manage

step 5 - accept


step 1 – prepare

 PINs

 name

 prerequisites


You already have your Board of Studies (BoS) student number.

You will receive your BoS PIN.

Your UAC PIN will be posted to your home address in August.

You need your UAC PIN and Board of Studies student number to apply.

Your UAC PIN is different to your BoS PIN.

  • register for the HSC with your legal name
  • your Australian name can be used as your ‘middle name’

eg: WONG Chin Ken

XIE Ling Leanne

  • when you enrol at uni – or request an ATAR reprint – you need ID and the names must match

STAT prerequisite for pharmacy and vet science.

UMAT prerequisite for medicine/ optometry.

If you do STAT or UMAT, ensure you include your candidate number on your UAC application.

Check other selection criteria.


step 2 – research

  •  UAC International Guide
  •  choosing courses
uac international guide
UAC International Guide

Contains all the information you need to apply

- table of courses with last year’s ATAR cut-offs

- general information about the 16 participating institutions

You will receive your free copy at the beginning of Term 3


International fee-paying courses

  • not all ‘domestic’ courses are available to international students

International students :

  • must study full-time
  • must pay course fee up front
  • must meet course cut-off to receive an offer
choosing your courses
Choosing your courses
  • You can choose up to six courses – at one or up to six institutions.
  • Choose courses that interest you, with subjects you are good at, and at institutions you would be happy to attend.
  • You can apply for Semester 1 and/or Semester 2 entry.

step 3 – apply

 touni – list course choices

equity scholarships

on time

applying to uni
Applying to Uni
  • All applicants apply on UAC’s website at
  • You need your BoS student number and UAC PIN
  • There is a processing charge of $62.00
  • Printyour confirmation and payment receipt
  • Apply by 30 October
course choices
Course choices
  • List 1 to 6 courses in your order of preference
  • CONDITIONAL offer made immediately (lists all courses in application - for visa purposes)
  • Change course preferences at any time - no closing dates – no more conditional offers
applying for equity scholarships
Applying for Equity Scholarships
  • In 2010 UC and USyd offered equity scholarships for international students
  • Apply through UAC for equity scholarships – check the UAC 2011 Equity Scholarships booklet
  • Check institution websites for other scholarship options

step 4 – manage your application

  • selection rank
  • - ATAR
  • - bonus points
  • - additional selection criteria
  •  course preferences
  •  going overseas?

Selection rank

  • university offers are based on a selection rank
  • for most HSC students, your selection rank is your ATAR
  • bonus points can change your selection rank for a particular course - they do not change your ATAR
  • some courses have additional selection criteria
bonus points
Bonus points
  • Some universities may allocate bonus points for HSC students
  • The most common are subject bonus points

If you are allocated bonus points then:

Selection rank = ATAR + bonus points

  • Do your research. Check Uni websites

Bonus points and cut-offs

Example – Bachelor of Masterchef

(6 applicants for 3 places)

1. 89 (ATAR of 89) 2. 88 (ATAR of 83 plus 5 bonus points) 3. 87 (ATAR of 85 plus 2 bonus points)---------------------------------------------------------- 4. 86 (ATAR of 86) 5. 85 (ATAR of 76 plus 9 bonus points) 6. 84 (ATAR of 84)

XX = selection rank

(Course cut-off = 87)


Other criteria

  • Tests eg STAT & UMAT
  • Personal statement
  • Interview
  • Portfolio
  • Audition

Course preferences

  • Use 6 course choices wisely – remember that they will be considered in your order of preference
  • Check published ATAR cut-offs and remember that to get an offer you must meet the cut-off
  • Change your course preferences as many times as you like – for free! (you will not get any more conditional offers though)

Check & Change

  • Check and change your application at
  • View/print your Confirmation of Application
  • Check/change your contact details
  • Check/change your agent details
  • Check/change your course preferences
  • Change your UAC PIN
  • Print tax invoice
  • View ATAR
  • View Offer/s

Going overseas?

  • Take your UAC International Booklet, your UAC application number and your UAC PIN with you
  • Contact UAC at:

(7.30am to 12 midnight Sydney time)

+61 2 9752 0200 (8.30am – 4.30pm)


step 5 – offers

      •  unconditional offers
unconditional offers
Unconditional Offers


 6 offer runs between mid- December and February (for Semester 1)

 Offers in June for Semester 2


 UAC website

 Agent

 Mail

unconditional offers1
Unconditional Offers


To get an unconditional offer you must:

 have the course in your list;

have an ATAR equal to or higher than the final course cut-off;

meet other course requirements.

You can get multiple offers, but

 only one offer per institution in each offer round

residency status
Residency status

Changed residency status?

– advise UAC if BEFORE offer

– instutution if AFTER enrolment


PINs; name; prerequisites


courses and unis


list 6 preferences & … on time; conditional offer


selection rank  change preferences;


unconditional offers; change of residency status