Female student asking questions at Student Services Female student asking questions at Student Services

How to get into University : the complete guide

Play icon

Your academic results matter

Have a strong academic foundation: Universities look at your high school performance as a strong indicator of your academic potential. So yes, your results do matter. Start by building a strong academic foundation during your high school years and strive for good grades across all your subjects.

Having a strong ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank): It’s crucial to understand how important your ATAR score is, as it plays a central role in the university admission process. Don’t just study hard, study smart. It’s vital to stay organised and create a study plan that you can adhere to.

UNSW College Tip: “Kick off your study sessions with subjects you like most, then tackle the more challenging ones. It keeps the momentum going.”

Different universities have different requirements

Identify your goals: When choosing a university, consider factors beyond the campus. Think about the culture, location, academic programs, and potential career opportunities. By taking these into account, you’ll narrow down your choices and find your best fit.

Admission requirements: Every university has a unique admission criteria. Start your research early to ensure you meet the minimum ATAR scores, prerequisite subjects, and other specific requirements.

UNSW College Tip: “Actually visiting campuses can give you a real feel of the place. Virtual tours or open days are the next best thing if you can’t make it in person.” 

Your extracurricular activities

Pursue your interests: Whether it’s sports, arts, or a specific hobby, highlight your unique talents and interests in your application. This will present a well-rounded view of your capabilities and set you apart from other applicants.

Community service: Giving back to others demonstrates your commitment to social responsibility. In addition to academics, universities often seek students who have made a positive impact on their communities.

Show leadership: Engage in extracurricular activities that align with your interests and try to take on leadership roles within those organisations. This demonstrates your ability to lead and collaborate, which is highly valued by universities.

UNSW College Tip: “Start a project in an area you’re passionate about – be it a book club, charity, or a sports team. It highlights your leadership skills and ability to engage others.”

Personal statement and essay

Unique story: Your personal statement and essays should reflect your unique experiences, aspirations, and personality. Avoid generic statements and instead, share your compelling, individual story.

Proofread: Make sure your essays are free from grammatical errors and are well-structured. Utilise resources such as Grammarly and seek feedback from teachers or mentors to help refine your writing.

Address weaknesses: Use this opportunity to openly discuss any academic or personal challenges you’ve encountered. Detail how these experiences have helped you grow and the valuable lessons you’ve learned. This demonstrates resilience and self-awareness.

UNSW College Tip: “A fresh set of eyes on your essays can work wonders. Don’t be shy in asking for feedback!”

Letters of recommendation

Choose wisely: Pick teachers or mentors who are familiar with your character, work ethic, and potential to offer meaningful insights. Their letters should enhance and add depth to your application.

Prepare recommenders: Reach out to your chosen recommenders early. Don’t forget to provide them your resume, and information about the university and program you are aiming for. This helps them prepare and write letters that are not only relevant but also compelling.

UNSW College Tip: “Always send a thoughtful thank-you note to those who write your recommendation letters. Keep them updated on your application status, especially if you’re accepted!”

Financial aid and scholarships

Early research: Start your search for financial aid and scholarships as early as possible. Most universities offer merit-based scholarships and need-based financial aid. Explore all possible options to ease the financial burden of attending university.

Government Assistance: In Australia, you can also explore government assistance programs, such as HECS-HELP, which can provide financial support for your education.

UNSW College Tip: “Get in touch with your chosen university and inquire about financial aid or scholarship opportunities to secure the support you need.”

Admissions interviews

Be prepared: If an admissions interview is part of the application process, prepare thoroughly by practicing answers to common interview questions. Be ready to discuss your academic and extracurricular achievements.

Dress appropriately: Make sure to dress professionally for the interview and arrive on time. Your appearance and demeanour can make a strong first impression. 

UNSW College Tip: “Remember to stay relaxed during your interview. Confidence and composure can make a big difference!"

Explore alternate pathways

Foundation programs: Designed to bridge the gap between high school and university, foundation programs offer a curriculum that prepares you for specific degree courses. These programs are a great way to strengthen your academic skills and meet university entry requirements.

Diploma pathways: Enrolling in a diploma program related to your field of interest not only provides you with practical skills but also can fast-track your admission into a bachelor’s degree. Many universities offer credit for diploma studies, potentially allowing you to enter the second year of a degree program directly.

For example, if you're interested in studying a degree at UNSW Sydney but haven't met the entry requirements, a diploma from UNSW College could help bridge the gap and take you straight into Second Year of your chosen degree at UNSW. 

UNSW College Tip: “Don’t overlook alternative pathways. Diploma programs can be your stepping stones to university, often offering a more supportive and tailored approach to meet your academic goals. In many cases, they’re a better option than compromising on your degree and trying an internal transfer.”

Application deadlines

Timely submission: Pay close attention to application deadlines. Missing a deadline can jeopardise your chances of getting into the university of your choice. Set up reminders and submit your application ahead of the cutoff date.

Early offers: Some Australian universities offer early offers or early admission pathways. Explore these programs, as they can increase your chances of securing a spot in your desired degree. 

UNSW College Tip: “Trust the effort you’ve put into your application and stay positive throughout the process!”

Starting your admission journey is an exciting step but remember to plan ahead and prepare wisely. Remember to stay focused on your studies, participate in extracurricular activities, stay on top of deadlines and keep everything organised. With time and dedication, you can turn your university dreams into reality.  

UNSW Global Pty Limited ABN 62 086 418 582 trading as UNSW College™.

Diploma & Foundation Studies
UNSW Global Pty Limited ABN 62 086 418 582 trading as UNSW College™ currently delivers Diplomas and Foundation Studies on behalf of UNSW Sydney - CRICOS Provider Code 00098G; UNSW Sydney TEQSA Provider ID: PRV12055 (Australian University).
From 26 August 2024, UNSW College™ will commence delivery of Diplomas under its own CRICOS Provider Code - 01020K and TEQSA Provider ID: PRV13020 (Institute of Higher Education).
From 13 January 2025, UNSW College™ will commence delivery of Foundation Studies under its own CRICOS Provider Code - 01020K and TEQSA Provider ID: PRV13020 (Institute of Higher Education).

Pre-Masters Program & Academic English
UNSW College™ delivers the Pre-Masters Program and Academic English programs under CRICOS Provider Code 01020K and TEQSA Provider ID: PRV13020 (Institute of Higher Education).

See https://unswcollege.edu.au/esos for more information. © 2024 UNSW Global Pty Limited.