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Life after ATAR: Navigating the world of offers, preferences and pathways

Life after ATAR: Navigating the world of offers, preferences and pathways

You’ve finished year 12 — congratulations! You’ve already tackled a range of challenges this year and are hopefully enjoying a hard-earned rest. December is a busy time of year with results being released and some big decisions to be made for 2020.

Once you get your ATAR, you may have lots of questions on where to go and what to do next. Our blogs have a vast amount of information to help you navigate the world outside high school — here’s a guide to help you get started.

Making sense of your ATAR

Remember that your ATAR is a rank, not a mark! The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is a number between 0.00 and 99.95 that indicates a student’s position relative to other students that year. Queensland use the OP ranking system, which is not equivalent to the ATAR. 

Here are our top blogs to help understand all you need to know about your ATAR:

Change of preference

Perhaps your ATAR was a surprise (pleasant or otherwise) and you want to reassess your options. Our course finder allows you to filter your results by ATAR or OP score, meaning you can find courses you have the best chance of getting into.

Perhaps your priorities or plans have changed for next year. Either way, it’s completely fine to change your mind! Given that applications are made well before you get your results, the tertiary admission centres in each state offer a change of preference period, which allows you to change preferences once ATARs and OPs are received, as well as between offer rounds.

These blogs will help you navigate the change of preference period:


If you have received an offer for a place to study in 2020, congratulations! The offer 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. A round of offers goes out in December 2019, but the main round of offers takes place in January 2020. 

There’s so much to know about the offer process, depending on your situation. Here are some blogs to get your started:

Pathways to uni

Didn’t get into the course of your dreams? Fear not — there are so many ways to get to where you want to be:

Vocational education

It’s important to note that not everyone wants or needs to study at university level! VET education is perfect for those who thrive in a more hands-on environment.

Here are some blogs that will help you navigate the world of apprenticeships and traineeships:

Taking a gap year

Lastly, remember that you don’t have to throw yourself into more study straight away! If you want more time to consider your options or decide what you want to do, a gap year might be for you.

These blogs can help you decide what’s right for you:


Useful links:

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A A practical guide to university preferences
Accepting Accepting your tertiary offer