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Applying to university – the basics

University applications are now open in all states and territories of Australia – and if you’re in Year 12 and thinking of applying for 2024, we’re here to help!

In this blog we’ll go over some of the basics you need to know about applying to university, plus list some key dates.

First, take a look at this handy timeline to get an overview of the university application process.

 

How do I apply?

If you’re currently in Year 12, you’ll most likely need to apply through a Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC). The benefit of TACs is that you submit just one application for multiple universities and courses, saving you time and effort.

Here’s a link to the TAC for each state and territory:

What about Tasmania? Well, seeing as the University of Tasmania is the only uni in Tassie, they take applications directly.

Which TAC do I apply to?

Simple – apply to the TAC that’s in the same state or territory as the university you want to go to.

So, if you’re thinking of heading to UNSW in Sydney – even if you live in Melbourne, Alice Springs, or Broome – you’ll need to apply through UAC.

When can I apply?

Now! UAC and TISC both started taking applications in early April this year, while the rest of the TACs opened applications in early August.

For UTAS, you can apply through their School’s Recommendation Program for early entry until 6 October. Regular course applications are also open now (check individual course pages for closing dates) and you can apply right up until courses start in 2024 – but be aware that courses with limited numbers will close earlier, around 30 September.

You don’t need to have your ATAR or results to apply – your TAC will automatically receive this information once it’s released in December.

How do I apply?

Each TAC has its own set of instructions for applying. For more detailed information, take a look at their website, or check out our Apply to Uni Guide.

When do applications close?

TACs have several application and offer rounds throughout the year – this means that if you apply by a certain date, you’ll receive an offer by a certain date. Even though applications are usually open until late January/early February 2024, it’s wise to apply for your course ASAP, as some have limited places and you won’t want to miss out.

The following table has both the main offer round application closing dates for Year 12 students (which is usually the first round after ATARs have been released), as well as the final dates to apply for courses in 2024:

TAC

Main Offer Round Application Closing Date

Final Closing Date for 2024 Courses

UAC

9 November 2023

2 February 2024

VTAC

1 December 2023

16 January 2024

QTAC

7 December 2023

8 March 2024

SATAC

1 December 2023

N/A*

TISC

18 December 2023

14 January 2024

UTAS

N/A

23 February 2024

*You can still apply for courses at any time through SATAC after 1 December but are not guaranteed equal consideration for selection.

What if I miss the Main Offer Round application deadline?

Don’t sweat – you can still apply for courses at any time between now and the final closing date for 2024.

There are a couple of cons to this: you might have to pay a higher application fee, and you might miss out on a course if all places are offered in the first round. So don’t leave your application right up until the last minute.

Help! I have applied but changed my mind about the course I want to do 

No worries – all the TACs have a system in place known as change of preference. This means you’re free to go back into your application and change the order of the courses on your application, or even add new courses.

Note that there is generally a cut-off date for changing your preferences based on when you’d like to receive an offer:

TAC

Main Offer Round CoP Closing Date

Final CoP Closing Date for 2024 Courses

UAC

15 December 2023

29 February 2024

VTAC

13 December 2023

14 February 2024

QTAC

18 December 2023

ASAP*

SATAC

3 January 2024

N/A**

TISC

18 December 2023

14 January 2024

UTAS

N/A***

N/A***

*You can change your preferences at any time up until the offer deadline, but it’s advised that you do so ASAP. With QTAC, you can change your preferences as many times as you like, but after the first three times you’ll have to pay a fee.

**Change of preferences for all Semester 1 courses close on 3 January 2023, regardless of offer round.

***You can change your preferences with UTAS at any time up until you receive an offer. Contact UTAS directly to find out more.

When can I expect to receive an offer?

As we said above, offers are generally rolled out on an ongoing basis depending on when you applied. Check the key dates section on your TAC’s website if you want to see specific offer round dates.

Based on the above application dates, here’s when you’ll most likely hear back:

TAC

Main Offers Released

Final Offers for 2023 Courses

UAC

21 December 2023

7 March 2024

VTAC

21 December 2023

20 February 2024

QTAC

21 December 2023

15 March 2024

SATAC

11 January 2024

14 March 2024

TISC

22 December 2023

19 January 2024

UTAS

Mid December

29 February 2024

Yay, I got an offer – but what’s next?

Congratulations! If you’ve received an offer (and you’re happy with it), the next step is to accept the offer.

This is an important step – if you fail to respond to the offer, it will lapse and you’ll need to wait for the next offer round.

Here are the dates you need to accept your offer by:

TAC

Main Offer Acceptance Deadline

Final Offer Acceptance Deadline for 2024 Courses

UAC

N/A*

N/A*

VTAC

N/A*

N/A*

QTAC

28 December 2023

19 March 2024

SATAC

N/A**

N/A**

TISC

N/A*

N/A*

UTAS

ASAP***

Until courses start in 2024

*You will receive an offer email directly from the institution detailing the date you’ll need to accept your offer by, and further instructions.

**For most courses, SATAC accepts the offer on your behalf. If you wish to change your offer response you can do so on the Offer Status page of your SATAC application.

***When UTAS contacts you with an offer, they will walk you through what happens next.

I got an offer…but not for the course I wanted. Now what?

You will have noticed during your application that you can list several course preferences. In some cases, you may not receive an offer for your first preference, but receive one for your second, and so on.

If you’re really insistent on getting an offer for your dream course, you can simply let the offer you’ve received lapse and wait for the next offer round to see if you receive an offer the next time around. But this can be risky, as there’s no guarantee you’ll receive any offers next time, even if you received one in the last round.

What we recommend is that you conditionally accept or ‘bank’ your offer. This means you can wait for the next offer round, and if you still don’t get an offer for the course you really want, you can then go back and accept the first offer you received.

See your TAC’s website for more information on offers.

Always remember to let the uni know before the deadline if you don’t want to accept the offer, or you could end up being enrolled in the course and have to pay some or all of the fees.

What do I do if I don’t receive any offers?

If you don’t receive an offer for any of your preferences in one round, you can simply wait for the next offer round and see if you get an offer next time. You might like to re-order your preferences or add new courses to your application to boost your chances of receiving an offer.

At this point, we recommend you start looking into alternative pathway options, just in case you don’t receive any offers by the final offer round.

Where can I find out more?

If you want more information on applying to university, check out the TAC websites, or contact them directly – they’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

Or you can get a copy of our Apply to Uni Guide, packed with tons of info on the application process in each state and territory.

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