What to do if you didn’t get the ATAR required for your course


If you didn’t get the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) required for your course, there are alternative pathways for you.

The fact is that universities don't always use ATAR as the basis of admission for school leavers.

Who can I talk to about my ATAR?

  • Talk to your career adviser before the end of the school year about a back-up plan. They may be able to help you look into alternative universities or other course options. 
  • Call your Tertiary Admissions Centre to re-prioritise your course preferences to those that you have qualified for. Keep track of dates (for submitting course applications, receiving offers and accepting offers) so that you don't miss any cut-off dates.
  • You could also contact the course coordinator or admissions centre at the university that you want to attend. They can tell about alternative pathways into their courses. 

What are some alternative pathways?

  • If your ATAR is just below the cut-off score, there may be other selection criteria to gain entry into the course. This includes specialised admissions tests, interviews, or providing examples of your extracurricular or work experience that relate to this field.
  • Studying another course in first year and transferring over to your preferred course in second year. You will probably need to get good marks in your current course to be able to transfer to your new qualification.
  • Completing a bridging course. Bridging courses are short intensive courses. Classes are usually held during term holidays. Bridging courses help students who are not fully prepared for university study, or who don't meet the assumed knowledge standards.
  • Studying a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. VET courses can offer excellent pathways to university or into jobs. There are over 1,200 courses available. VET courses include certificate level, diplomas and even degrees.
  • Look for work in the field you are interested in. You can do this by getting an entry level job or doing an Australian Apprenticeship. This can help you build your skills and knowledge on the job and ensure the job suits you. If you still need a university qualification, you can study part-time while you work.

These tools can help you: