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Accepting your tertiary offer

Accepting your tertiary offer

With Year 12 done and dusted, a handful of students around the country have turned their attention to the release of university places. If you are one of the many young Australians anxiously awaiting a course offer but aren’t sure how to go about it, our guide may be able to answer your questions. 

How do I accept my offer? 

If you have received an offer for a university place in 2019, congratulations! The acceptance process varies by state and institution, so it’s a good idea to contact your university or state-specific tertiary admissions centre for instructions. Generally, you will receive a notification from your admissions centre or the institution themselves, informing you of the offer and providing you with specific instructions on how to accept it and complete your course enrolment.  

I didn’t receive an offer – what next? 

Don’t panic if you have missed out on an offer – there are plenty of ways to get to your dream course. If you missed out in the main offer round, wait for the subsequent January and February releases to see if you are offered a place. You can also change your course preferences between rounds or register for supplementary offers, where your details are sent to universities with course vacancies. 

If you miss out on an offer altogether, explore the pathway and bridging courses offered through vocational institutions. These programs can help you transfer into your desired university course after you have completed your qualification and gained some useful work experience. 

I have received an offer but want to keep my options open 

Students who have received their first choice won’t be given any more offers, so you will need to re-arrange your course preferences if you want to explore your options. It is important that you accept your original offer to prevent it from lapsing, before re-ordering your course list to ensure that your new preferences sit above your accepted offer.  

I can’t accept my offer 

Some universities require you to accept your offer and commence your enrolment in person, but this isn’t always feasible due to travel, medical issues and other factors. Contact your institution to discuss their enrolment policy, as you may be able to grant permission for someone to accept on your behalf. 

How do I decline my offer? 

The simple answer is to do absolutely nothing – if you do not accept your offer by a set date or time, it will lapse and be offered to another student in subsequent rounds. However, it is generally recommended that you do not decline an offer unless you are 100 per cent certain that you wouldn’t accept it even if you received no further offers. 

If I accept my offer, do I have to start university straight away? 

You can defer your offer for a semester or year if desired, but make sure you check with your institution beforehand as not all universities allow deferment. If you want to defer your studies, you will need to accept your offer and potentially commence enrolment through your institution to ensure your place is secured.  

Why have I received an offer for a course I didn’t apply for? 

This is likely to be a slipback offer. When students have applied for courses that they are not eligible for, some institutions will offer them a lower level ‘slipback’ option instead. Make sure you contact the university to explore your possibilities if you believe you have received a slipback offer. 

Can I change my offer once I have accepted? 

It is possible to accept a new offer if you have already said yes to another one. You will need to contact the university that provided you with the original offer to organise a course withdrawal, but make sure that you confirm your eligibility beforehand. Institutions have withdrawal deadlines that incur late fees, while some offers may have special circumstances that prohibit withdrawal. 

Further reading:

Useful links:

A A practical guide to university preferences
ATAR ATAR Q&A: What next?
Don't Don't fear the university preferences selection process