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Does ATAR matter?

Is it necessary to pursue a high ATAR if you’re not aiming for degrees like medicine or law? This is a sensitive topic, we talked to a few students and here is what they think.

For those of you who have taken the Australian high school exams, do you remember the last time someone asked you about your ATAR score?The reality might be, after the exams, once you enter university, almost no one asks about your ATAR score anymore. Everything starts anew, so is the ATAR important?

In Australia, if you don’t plan on studying fields like medicine or law, an ATAR above 95 is generally more than sufficient for other majors. Many majors only require a score of 90, or even 70-80.

However, does this mean that high scores are completely unnecessary?

Initially, we thought so too. But we realised that high scores are in fact still useful. Various majors have advanced programs designed for outstanding students, such as the elite student program in the computer science department or the talent student program in the science department.

These programs have specific entry requirements regarding ATAR scores and high school academic backgrounds, so high scores still have significance.

Our view on ATAR scores is that there’s no need to aim for 99.95, but a score of 99 is still what students might want to aim for. If you’re not particularly interested in participating in research and projects at university but want to get into a good university and major, a score of 90 is sufficient. If you have no requirements for the university or major, a score of 70 is also fine.

What should you do if your ATAR isn’t high enough for undergraduate studies?

If your ATAR score isn’t high enough for direct admission, or if you can’t get into your desired major, you can consider a Diploma fast-track program. Upon completion, you can directly enter the second year of a university undergraduate program, saving study time.

Author: Sim K


Sim K


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