What is the ATAR? Your guide to getting into uni

The ATAR is a rank – not a mark

The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a number between 0.00 and 99.95 that tells you where you rank in your age group in your state. It’s pretty simple, really. Zero is the lowest and 99.95 is the highest.

Your ATAR is based on your overall academic performance during Year 12. So if you put in lots of effort and study hard, your rank should reflect that! The ATAR is also used by universities to help them choose students for entry to their courses. It shows a university that you’re ready to go and up to the job when it comes to studying a degree.

How is my ATAR calculated?

Your ATAR is based on a total of scaled marks in 10 units of ATAR courses, including your:

  • best two units of English
  • best eight units from your remaining units, which can include no more than two units of Category B courses.

This is how it gets worked out.

ATAR flow chart: 1 HSC marks are calculated from HSC assessment and HSC exam marks. 2 Scaling is applied to convert HSC marks into scaled marks. 3 An aggregate is determined from the sum of scaled marks. 4 Percentiles are determined using the aggregate marks. 5 Your ATAR is a percentile score, rounded to the nearest 0.05

Image credit: Matrix Education Pty Ltd.

What is my selection rank?

Entry to most uni courses is based on your selection rank (your ATAR + any applicable adjustments), not your ATAR.

Plenty of students receive an offer to their course even though they have a score below the ATAR requirement. This is often because other factors have been taken into consideration (in combination with their ATAR) and their selection rank for that course has been adjusted ─ and ends up being higher than their ATAR!

What other criteria comes into play?

Your entry into a course isn’t just dependant on your ATAR and selection rank. Some courses have additional entry requirements like interviews, essays, auditions, a portfolio of work or a personal statement.

For example, to apply for the Bachelor of Veterinary Biology / Bachelor of Veterinary Science you need to:

  • achieve an ATAR of 90
  • complete a supplementary application form
  • attend an interview at our Wagga Wagga campus.

Make sure you check the eligibility requirements of your course before you apply. You can do this by exploring the admission information section of your course page.

What do I do if my ATAR isn’t what I wanted?

Sometimes things don’t quite go to plan. You can feel under so much pressure while you’re completing your final exams – it’s understandable if that pressure gets to be too much!

At Charles Sturt University, we understand that you’re more than a number – you’re human. We want you to know that there are plenty of different ways to get into university.

So if your ATAR isn’t exactly where you want it to be, you can explore our range of access schemes and admission pathway programs, including:

Also, we’ve got a couple of courses that can get you prepped for uni study and give you guaranteed entry into most of our undergraduate degrees! The Diploma of General Studies will give you entry to most undergraduate courses in education, creative industries, computer science and IT. For entry into other bachelor’s degrees, we have the Charles Sturt University Pathway course. And having completed your course, when you do make that step into your degree, you’ll know the ropes and be full of confidence.

Questions? Concerns? Get in touch!

We’re super-friendly and excellent problem-solvers. You can arrange a free one-on-one meeting – in person, over the phone or via Skype – and we’ll can help find the right course for you, take you through how to apply, discuss your admission pathway options and show you all the support we can give you.