If you’re reading up on your dream university course, there’s a chance you’ve come across some new and unfamiliar terms. Like what’s a TAC? What does EAS stand for? Am I supposed to know what a CSP is?
We’re here to demystify some common terms you might see around when applying for uni, so you’re not left feeling lost and confused.
A TAC is a Tertiary Admissions Centre. These are the places you will most likely submit your university applications to at the end of the year. There’s one for each state and territory:
(If you’re wondering about Tasmania, they don’t have a TAC like other states – UTAS (the University of Tasmania) takes all applications directly).
This one’s probably familiar. ATAR stands for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It’s a number between 0 and 99.95 that indicates your position compared to other students in your age group. So, for example, if you get an ATAR of 80, that means you were in the top 20% of students your age.
Your ATAR is most likely what you will use to gain entry to university – but don’t forget there are heaps of alternative pathways available as well.
We wrote a blog explaining everything you need to know about ATARs, so if you want to know more check it out.
EAS stands for Educational Access Scheme. These are entry pathways offered by TACs and universities to help people who have faced disadvantage or hardship during their education get into university.
There are lots of different kinds of disadvantage covered – financial hardship, disability and illness, family disruption, refugee status and socioeconomic status are all things that could be considered if you want to apply for an EAS.
If you’d like to find out whether or not you’re eligible to apply for an EAS, check your chosen TAC or university website.
If you’re wondering how much your uni degree might cost you, this one’s relevant. A CSP is a Commonwealth Supported Place. These are places in university courses where the government subsidises (or pays for) some of your fee on your behalf.
If you’re an Australian citizen and applying for an undergraduate course at uni, you’ll most likely be offered a CSP. There are only some exceptions to this, such as high-demand courses like medicine and some postgraduate courses. Read more about CSPs here.
Related to CSPs, HECS-HELP is a loan you can get to cover the cost of your university studies. This means you don’t have to worry about paying for all your courses up-front.
When you are accepted into a university course, your uni will most likely provide you with a Request for Commonwealth support and HECS-HELP form, which you fill out to request that your fees for your course are deferred onto your HECS-HELP loan.
You can only borrow so much on your HELP loan, and this amount is combined over any course you take.
O-Week stands for Orientation Week. These are events held before the start of the university semester for new students, where you can familiarise yourself with the uni facilities, meet lecturers and fellow students, and ask any questions you might have.
Pretty much every uni in Australia holds an O-Week event, so make sure you get along to yours to make the most of your time studying.
If you’re looking to apply for a uni or VET course, you’ll need to have a USI, or Unique Student Identifier. This is a number that will stay with you forever across any study you might do, even if you change courses or universities.
You’ll need to have a USI if you want to apply for any Commonwealth assistance (like a HECS-HELP loan), so it’s important to have one. It’s totally free to get one and you can apply online, so there’s no excuse.
Got any other terms you’re not sure about or just want to know more about your future options? Send us a message and we’ll get in touch.