Increasing your chances of getting the varsity spot you want

Now that VCE results day is well and truly over; the next step for some Victorian students is securing that coveted spot at university.


While that may seem like a daunting task, new research from the Grattan Institute shows there’s plenty of good news for school-leavers and that extra preferences, patience and passion can get them  to the spot they want.

One hopeful statistic is that most students who apply will get an offer, with 85 per cent scoring one in 2017.

“I think a lot of students are; very nervous, understandably, but if you get an ATAR lower than you expected; it’s important to put that in perspective and know your actual chance of getting into the spot (course) you want,” lead researcher Ittima Cherastidtham said.

The analysis of data from the Department of Education; and Training showed students across all ATAR bands could improve their chance; of getting an offer by increasing the number of preferences on their application.



The report said this was the most beneficial method for students with lower ATARs to secure a place in a course. A student with an ATAR of between 60 and 70 who puts in more than 11 preferences has a similar chance of getting an offer to a student with a rank of more than 90.

But what happens if they still don’t get into the course they want?

Again, there’s no need to despair because fewer than half of Victorian students got their first preference last year.

The way around that setback is changing course once they’ve enrolled. The report shows one in 10 university students change their course by their second year of study.

A lot of students actually move, more than we expected, ” Ms Cherastidtham said.

“If you’re passionate about what you want to do, make sure you put in enough preferences; and then work really hard to get transferred you’ll get into the course you want to.”

She recommended students planning to change courses should initially enrol in one closely related to their ideal field.

The most common moves were from science to health and from humanities to commerce.

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre issues five rounds of university offers for Australian students. The first round will be; released on January 16 at 2pm.