Quick ATAR facts

Quick ATAR facts

There’s a lot to understand about Australia’s ranking system, so we’ve put together a few quick ATAR facts that might interest you.

Your ATAR score is valid for life

You can use it to apply to study at university regardless of your age, provided it meets the entry requirements for your course.

The national median ATAR is around 70.00

But it changes every year. That’s because the averages in each state varies too. For example, in 2021 the median ATAR in Queensland was 78.85, in Western Australia it was 82.3, and in New South Wales it was 70.41.

Your ATAR is a nationally recognised number

So if you live in Queensland and your ATAR is 85.00, it’ll be the same no matter which state you apply to study in.

Not everyone uses an ATAR to get into uni

Only 49.39% of students who were admitted to the University of Sydney in 2023 did so solely based on ATAR, regardless of adjustment factors.

Getting a low ATAR isn’t the end of the world

These days, universities and other tertiary institutions offer stacks of alternative pathways to get in.

You can still change your preferences after you’ve received your ATAR results

So if you score lower or higher than expected, you still have time to adjust your preferences to reflect that.

You can’t “waste” an ATAR

If you score 99.95 and choose to study a course with an entry requirement of 80.00 because it’s your top choice, go with it. Scoring a high ATAR simply means there are more courses you’re eligible to apply for, not that you must apply for courses at the upper limit.

No ATAR? No problem

Some vocational and other tertiary qualifications don’t necessarily require you to have an ATAR. These qualifications also provide nationally recognised qualifications, and some universities will accept them as eligibility (sometimes even credit towards first year studies) if you’d like to apply in the future.

It only matters for a little while

Once you’ve been accepted into uni or another tertiary institution, nobody is likely to ask what your ATAR was ever again, let alone use it as criteria for course or job selection.

You aren’t defined by your ATAR

And your opportunities in life won’t be limited by that number. You may have to take a different pathway to the one you’d originally planned, but that doesn’t make it impossible.

ATAR calculators aren’t necessarily accurate

Scaling changes every year, so don’t take the results as gospel.

Studying more units might get you a higher ATAR

But only if you apply yourself to all subjects the same, since admission centres select from of your best results to calculate your aggregate score, which determines your rank position.

Taking advanced subjects doesn’t mean you’ll get a higher ATAR

Only the amount of work and effort you put in can do that.

Find out more

We have heaps of other blogs about university, vocational study, pathways, and more on our website here.

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