Navigating getting into university

Heading into university? How do you know which university is the best for you? How do you select your Year 12 subjects for the course you want down the line? We answer all these burning questions in this blog!

2 years ago   •   4 min read

By KIS academics
Photo by Green Chameleon / Unsplash

It’s that time of year, time to submit your university application. This time of year can be extremely overwhelming - from the lengthy selection of university courses to the tedious application process. However, before applying to university, it is important to explore all of your options. Different courses have different requirements, and some universities may run the same course differently in comparison to others. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the factors surrounding getting into university and the options you have available.

But how do I navigate university websites? Which university is best for me?

University websites can be quite complicated to navigate. Generally, many universities organise their websites to group courses under different areas of study. For example, all of the health, arts, humanities, and science courses may be found in the same area on their website. This makes it much easier to explore all of the courses within your area of interest. Many universities also create magazines that group and list courses in a similar way.

With these course guides, you will be able to look at different programs of study at each university of interest. Despite this, having all of these choices can be quite overwhelming for many people. Open Universities is a handy website that enables you to compare and contrast various university courses. You are given the option to select two or more university courses and compare them on factors including duration and program of study. During year 12, I used this website to compare all of the courses I had an interest in and was stuck between. It is important to evaluate all the courses you have an interest in as they may be conducted differently between different universities.

For example, one university may focus on one area of study in comparison to another university. You should also read reviews and seek guidance from current university students so you can get some clarity on which university may be more suited to you. The more clarity you have on your course and university of interest, the more confident you will feel when completing your application.

How do I know if my course has prerequisites?

Once you have picked the course for you at the university you would like to study at, it is best to check out the prerequisites of that course. These can be found on the universities website under course information.

If you are finding it difficult to find targeted information to you, you can attend a university open day to find out course information and prerequisites. If there is a prerequisite you do not meet, seek guidance from the university either by phone call, email or in person. They will be able to assist you with these requirements or present you with alternative methods of course entry. Prerequisites are typically subjects that are required to be completed in year 11 or 12.

Before picking your year 12 subjects, it is important to find out if the courses you are interested in have any of these required subjects. If you are a current year 12 student and did not select the required subjects, you should promptly find out what alternatives are available to you such as pathway courses. Finding out entry requirements is a significant factor in getting into university as you do not want to be stuck for options right before your application is due, and you should always double-check yourself before you double-wreck yourself!

What ATAR do really I need to get into my course?

While there is significant stress placed on ATAR during high school, it shouldn’t be something to fear. As cliche as it is, your ATAR does not matter in the grand scheme of things. Not all courses need a high ATAR for course admission. Each university should list the guaranteed ATAR for each of their courses and this should be found under course information with the prerequisites if there are any. If your ATAR is under the guaranteed ATAR, you still have a chance of getting into the course. Admission differs slightly each year depending on who has applied and how many students have applied for that course.  If you're still unsure how exactly the ATAR is calculated, check out our comprehensive guide to the ATAR.

Generally, more popular courses have higher ATARs so they are more competitive than the ones with lower application numbers. If you would like to get an idea of the required ATAR for your course of interest, you should be able to download figures from past years of how many students were admitted and the median ATAR of each of those students. If you need further assistance with ATAR, you can speak to someone from your university of interest. However, for further help with boosting your ATAR, you can always find your best local tutor at:

Our tutors here at KIS would be more than happy to assist you with this process and help calm any nerves or uncertainties you have about the application process.

The bottom line

Getting into university can be quite a complex process, especially if you are tossing up between a handful of courses that interest you. It is important to compare and contrast courses at different universities and evaluate which ones are best for you. Some courses have prerequisites, and it is important to find out if the courses you are interested in have these. You should also the guaranteed ATAR of your courses into consideration so that you have an understanding of course competitiveness. Overall, the application process can be quite tedious, and it is important to seek help whenever you need it. Despite this, the university is a new chapter of your life and it is exciting to see what awaits in your future!

Written by KIS Academics Tutor for SACE English, Biology and Psychology, Charlotte Kenning. Charlotte is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at Flinders University and has received stellar reviews from her past KIS Academics students. You can view Charlotte's profile here and request her as a tutor.

Spread the word

Keep reading