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.

    Institutions will be required to provide consistent information on entry pathways as well as reporting in greater detail on the outcomes of admissions intakes. This will provide information on the variety of qualifications and experiences universities have used in assessing people for entry, as well as profiles of the ATAR range of Year 12 students admitted to each course. Universities across Australia will also adopt common terminology to present admissions information.

    The Admissions Transparency implementation plan is available at: https://docs.education.gov.au/node/44471.

    This page outlines some of the changes you can expect to see during the remainder of 2017 and into 2018.

  • Consistent Information

    The presentation of consistent information will help students compare entry requirements across different institutions. Some of the information will talk about admission to the university as a whole. This will be supplemented by information related to particular courses or areas of study.

  • Use of common terminology

    Common terminology, with agreed definitions, will be used to help students compare admission requirements between courses and institutions across Australia. Some of the common terms are introduced in this document. You will notice new terms appearing on university websites during the rest of 2017, alongside more familiar definitions. For 2019 entry information (in prospectuses and on websites), some terms (such as 'cut-off' and 'indicative ATAR') will be phased out and replaced with the new terminology.

  • Profile of students entering a course

    Universities will provide information on the various pathways used to gain entry to each course and the proportion of people who were admitted via each entry pathway during the most relevant recent intake period. This will help applicants see how many people with similar educational backgrounds have entered the course/university in the most recent intake period.

    The information will show how many students gained entry to the university (and individual courses) from the following broad pathways:
    • Previous higher education study
    • Previous vocational (VET) study
    • Recent secondary study (in the last two years)
    • Work and life experience

    For students admitted on the basis of recent secondary study, information will be 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

    Universities will also provide 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 will 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. 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 forthcoming admissions cycles. See the information later in this document on ATAR and Selection Rank.

  • 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 lowest ATAR and the lowest selection rank to receive an offer.
    • The ATAR and selection rank at the 25th percentile to receive an offer.
    • The median ATAR and selection rank to receive an offer.
    • The ATAR and selection rank at the 75th percentile to receive an offer.

  • Streamlining interstate applications

    TISC is working with Tertiary Admissions Centres in other states to improve cross-border application processes. In the short term, information for students considering applying interstate will be given more prominence in the printed TISC Guide and on TISC's website, with links to other Admissions Centres. Longer-term, we will develop functionality so that students can apply to interstate institutions more easily and at lower cost.

  • Further terminology

    The following terms have been agreed for use across all Australian institutions to clarify the difference between ATAR and Selection Rank:

    • 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 now termed 'adjustment factors'.
    • Selection Rank
      After adjustment factors are applied to the ATAR, the resulting number is called a Selection Rank. A student may 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 institution will be 88.45.

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