Over 57,000 New South Wales (NSW) higher school students received their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) at 9 PM (standard time) on December 15. Besides, 78,000 NSW high school students also got their 2017 Higher School Certificate (HSC) marks around the same time as the release of ATAR results. The ATAR is a rank that evaluates a student’s overall academic achievement in the NSW HSC by comparing it with other students.
Since ATAR ranks the individuals according to their academic achievement, it enables the Universities to compare the students in NSW even if they have completed different combination of HSC courses. The main reason ATAR was introduced in the first place was that the Tertiary institutions couldn't enroll all the applicants as they could only provide a limited number of seats. ATAR helped the institutions (which it still does) pick the students who deserve the spot by assessing their achievements.
The future in tertiary study relies on several variables. Personal attributes (including abilities and motivation) are quite essential when it comes to tertiary study, but a parameter of achievement like ATAR works the best as a sole predictor of success. The current ATAR is based on a student's top HSC units, where the maximum attainable ATAR is 99.95.
- 46 students received the highest possible ATAR of 99.95 this year as stated by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), the organization responsible for awarding the rank.
- Among the total of 57,061 students who were eligible for ATAR this year, 48.5 percent received 70.00 or above
- A 32.7 percent of students got 80.00 or above and 16.4 percent students received 90.00 or above ATAR.
- The median for this year’s ATAR is also slightly higher (69.00) than the last year’s median, indicating a better performance from this year’s NSW school leavers.
- Among the students who got their ATARs this Friday, the female students have achieved the median of 70.15 ATAR, while the boys got the median of 67.65 ATAR this year.
- All the students who received their ATARs studied a mix of subjects, which happens every year. However, this year the most subjects among them were English Advanced, Mathematics Extension 1, Mathematics Extension 2 and Chemistry.
For the very first time, the ATARs have been released under a more transparent admissions system. Vice-chancellor of University of Sydney Michael Spence welcomed the release of the first set of ATARs as the university reveals a fixed minimum ATAR system for most of the courses. According to Deputy Vice-Chancellor of University of Sydney Tyrone Carlin, a fixed ATAR will be based on an academic judgment, as reported in The Sydney Morning Herald.
While most of the NSW HSC students are reacting to their ATARs score, it is also crucial to mention that there’s a concept of bonus points in the scene. Different universities offer bonus points to the students based on a range of different criteria. These bonus points can be later added to the students' ATARs. In fact, the universities can offer bonus points on subjects for performing well in certain HSC courses that are related to the university degree. Some of the other reasons for awarding bonus points include living in or attending a school in a certain area, applying through Educational Access Schemes or achievements like being an elite athlete, a school captain or a performer as mentioned by the UAC (University Admissions Centre).
Bonus points certainly do not change the ATAR. However, the bonus points can change a student’s selection rank that he had for a particular course which has been mentioned as a preference. If a student is awarded with bonus points, he/she may receive an offer to a course even if their ATAR is quite below than the mentioned cut-off (the lowest rank required for entry into a certain course).
From Friday (i.e. Dec 15, 2017) 9 am, students could check their ATAR at uac.edu.au and through My UAC app. People who had forgotten their PIN or application number could retrieve their PIN by calling at the hotline number provided by the UAC. Students needed their Year 12 student number (or UAC application number) and their UAC PIN to access their ATAR results. But reportedly, about 600 students in the NSW HSC forgot their PINs in the morning of the ATAR results.
In a related news, it was revealed that 25,000 HSC students are anticipated to change their university preferences once they develop a more realistic idea of the course they can get into. In a fresh attempt at making things less tiring for the students, the UAC, for the first time, will be releasing a round of offers five days from the release of ATARs. According to a report, 70,178 people have applied through UAC for the courses in 2018, where 42,430 of the applicants are from the current NSW year 12 students.
Understanding the ATAR-HSC Relationship:
ATAR was introduced in the year 2008, and since then it has evolved much like the HSC. However, HSC and ATAR have a different set of functions, even though they are both based on the same course results. Here is what both these predictors mean.
- The ATAR offers a measure of overall academic achievement in the HSC, compared to other students.
- The ATAR results are used by institutes to rank and pick applicants in a more reasonable way.
- The results are not based on the HSC marks, but the scaled marks.
- The ATAR is calculated by the institutes for every eligible applicant, and the rankings are released by the UAC.
- The HSC is a set of results that offers a profile of achievements through a spectrum of HSC courses.
- The HSC is also identified as an exit certificate that denotes the end of 13-year long schooling career.
- It can also be considered as the doorway to higher study (tertiary studies) and employment as well.
- It is both awarded and released by BOSTES.
ATAR is certainly the most crucial predictor of academic success. However, the institutes believe that there are certain other criteria that play an important role in a student’s admission to certain courses. In fact, an institute can select a candidate based on an interview, audition, test, questionnaire or portfolio. At times, these criteria are combined with the ATAR as well.
In the context of ATAR release, experts have exclaimed that there's no reason to feel de-motivated if your ATAR is not as high as you expected it to be. There are a number of alternative pathways to further study, and a student can achieve success pursuing those routes as well. In fact, there are a number of courses in Australia that does not require ATAR for entry. The idea is to keep moving forward and don't be stagnate in one place. Also, experts recommend the student to choose a course that they really want to do.
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