There are a lot of misconceptions and fears surrounding the ATAR system. Let’s debunk some popular myths.
- ATAR stands for Australian Tertiary Admission Rank
An ATAR is not a percentage or a score out of 100 – it is a rank which establishes each student’s achievement in relation to every other student. The purpose of the ATAR (evident in the name) is for entry into tertiary-level studies, and it allows institutions such as universities to inform their selection of students. Due to the fact that the ranking includes all people who may be qualified to receive an ATAR, the median score is generally above 50. In 2017, the average ATAR for a VCE student was 65.10, with 36 VCE students receiving a ‘perfect score’ of 99.95.
- If you don’t get the ATAR for the course of your dreams, it’s not the end of the world
ATAR cut-offs don’t necessarily mean the lowest ATAR score accepted into the course. Some students scoring below the cut-off may be accepted, especially if they have bonus points from completing specific subjects, or if they have submitted an application for special consideration upon application. See more on that here. It’s also worth noting that there are many pathways available to courses, so even if you don’t receive entry to a course, it doesn’t rule it out forever. You can see more about pathways to universities here.
- ATAR calculators are not 100% accurate
Although it can be fun to play around with ATAR calculators to predict your score, they can’t perfectly predict your ATAR. This is not just because you probably won’t be able to predict your study scores, but it’s also because every year, subject scaling changes based on the competition in that year. For example, in 2015, a 42 in VCE French scaled to a 49.8, but in 2017, it scaled to a score of 50.2, which reflects a higher level of competition (i.e. in 2017, students in French tended to do slightly better in their other studies than in 2015).
When you receive your ATAR, remember that you can still adjust your university preferences. You can look forward to being proud of your ATAR if you’ve worked really hard throughout Year 12, but of course, if all doesn’t go to plan, it’s not a reflection of your abilities as a person, and it’s not a predictor of future success.
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: Your Fears are an Opportunity,The Best Way to Reduce Stress in Year 12: It’s Not What You Think and How is University Different from High School?
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