Admissions Transparency: more information to support student choice

  • Introduction

    Universities across Australia are working with the Australian government to provide clearer information on entry requirements for university courses.

    This page outlines some of the changes you will see on TISC and university websites.

  • Consistent Information

    The presentation of consistent information will help you compare entry requirements across different institutions. Some of the information talks about admission to the university as a whole. Other information relates to particular courses or areas of study.

  • Common terminology

    In the past, sometimes different terms have been used for similar information. On the flip side, sometimes the same term might have meant different things in different states. Now, universities are using common terminology, with agreed definitions, to help you compare admission requirements more easily.

    Some of the common terms are listed below and in the information sheets on this page. For 2019 entry information, some terms used previous in WA (such as 'cut-off', 'bonus points' and 'indicative ATAR') have been phased out and replaced with new terminology.

    Here are some terms that will be really useful when you look at the other information:
    • ATAR
      The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a number that shows a student's relative academic standing within their peer cohort in the year they graduated from senior secondary school. The ATAR is calculated according to rules established in each state. In Western Australia, the rules for ATAR calculation include bonuses for study in Languages Other than English and Mathematics Methods and Mathematics Specialist courses.
    • Adjustment Factors
      Individual institutions may award additional ATAR bonus points to students from particular backgrounds. For WA year 12 students, these are calculated automatically by TISC and advised to students when they receive notification of their results and ATAR. In some other states, additional points may be applied by institutions for entry to particular courses, based on the subjects students have taken in year 12. Any bonuses applied to the ATAR by individual institutions in this way are called 'adjustment factors'.
    • Selection Rank
      After adjustment factors are applied to the ATAR, the resulting number is called a Selection Rank. A student can have different selection ranks for different universities. Institutions use the selection rank they have assigned when they assess an applicant for entry to their courses. For students who do not receive any adjustment factors, their ATAR is their selection rank.

      For example: a student from a regional WA school achieves an ATAR of 83.45 and is eligible to receive 5 bonus points from a particular university. Their selection rank for entry to that university will be 88.45.

  • Profile of students entering a course

    Universities now provide clearer information on the various pathways used to gain entry to each course each year. This will help you see how many people with similar educational backgrounds to you have entered the course and university recently.

    There are four broad pathways that are highlighted:
    • Previous higher education study
    • Previous vocational (VET) study
    • Recent secondary study (in the last two years)
    • Work and life experience

    For students admitted based on recent secondary study, information is given on how many:
    • were admitted solely on their ATAR;
    • were admitted on ATAR plus other criteria; and
    • received an offer based solely on other criteria (instead of their ATAR).

  • ATAR-related entry thresholds

    There's now also more information on the relevant ATAR thresholds for courses where students have been admitted solely on the basis of ATAR, or where ATAR was a significant factor in selection alongside other criteria.

    • Lowest ATAR to which an offer was made in [year] (exclusive of any adjustment factors)
      Universities must report the lowest 'raw' ATAR (ie: excluding any institution-specific bonus points) of a student admitted to the course in a particular year, after all offers have been made (not just December round offers). This information has not been published in WA previously.
    • Lowest Selection Rank to which an offer was made in [year] (including the impact of ATAR and any adjustment factors)
      Universities may also report the lowest selection rank (ie: ATAR, plus institution-specific bonus points, if applicable) of a student admitted to the course. This information is generally comparable with the historical 'cut-off' ranks reported for many courses in Western Australia.
    • Minimum ATAR/Selection Rank
      Where appropriate, universities will provide a minimum ATAR/selection rank for particular courses for the next intake period. These show the minimum rank required to be considered for a course, but do not guarantee selection to the course. The ATAR/selection rank quoted is inclusive of any bonuses/adjustment factors.
    • Guaranteed ATAR/Selection Rank
      For many courses, universities are able to provide guaranteed entry ATAR/selection ranks for the next admissions cycle. These represent the ATAR/selection rank at which entry to a course is guaranteed, provided English, prerequisite and WACE requirements have been satisfied. Again, the ATAR/selection rank quoted is inclusive of any bonuses/adjustment factors. Guaranteed entry thresholds are not published when there are limited places available in a course and/or when selection criteria additional to ATAR are used.
    The first two pieces of information reflect completed admissions periods, while the last two provide information on the next admissions cycle.

  • ATAR profile of incoming student cohort

    Another new set of information will show the range of ATARs and selection ranks for recent secondary students being made an offer for each course.

    The course information will show:
    • The highest ATAR and the highest selection rank to receive an offer.
    • The median ATAR and selection rank to receive an offer.
    • The lowest ATAR and the lowest selection rank to receive an offer.

  • If you have any questions in relation to any of the changes, please contact TISC or the admissions offices of any of the universities.