Tertiary Entrance Guide 2021: Tertiary selection for school leavers

VTAC administers the course application, selection and offer processes, and provides applicant information (including VCE and VCAL results) to tertiary institution selection officers. When selecting students who have just completed their secondary studies, selection officers use information about each applicant to confirm they are eligible for the course and to assess their likelihood of success. The information used, and how it is used, varies between institutions and courses.

First, an applicant must meet minimum tertiary entrance requirements. For higher education courses this is usually satisfactory completion of the VCE, which includes the completion of units 3 and 4 in one of the VCE English studies in the one year. The same minimum requirement applies for most VET courses; however, it does vary between institutions. For more information about minimum tertiary entrance requirements, please see the VTAC website.

Second, an applicant must meet any VCE prerequisites and any other published compulsory requirements for the course. Applicants who don’t satisfy these requirements are generally not considered.

The third factor often used in selection is an overall measure of how well an applicant performed in their VCE studies compared with all other VCE students. This measure is called the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and was developed solely for the purpose of tertiary selection. The ATAR is only calculated for students who have completed their VCE and have met tertiary entrance requirements.

Other factors may be considered in selection. The ATAR is not the only mechanism used for tertiary selection, and it is not used for all VCE applicants. Many courses use a range of additional selection mechanisms such as interviews, performance auditions, assessment of folios and tests such as aptitude tests. Other criteria may include specific performance in prerequisite studies or other studies relevant to the course. Applications for special consideration are also taken into account.

All universities are committed to considering a number of applicants on a range of criteria broader than just the ATAR. TAFE institutes and independent tertiary colleges normally use a range of criteria, including the ATAR and interviews, and generally do not select mainly on the ATAR.

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