student walking in the cloisters

What to do when your child gets their ATAR

Advice for parents of Year 12 students
We answer some of your top questions to help you support your child when they get their ATAR and finalise their UAC preferences.

The best thing you can do for your child is to help them make an informed choice that remains true to their interests, irrespective of whether their ATAR is higher or lower than expected.

Below are our answers to some common that may come up at this time. 

1. My child's ATAR is higher than expected, should they change their preferences?

If your child didn't put their dream course as their first preference, and it is now within reach, they may want to consider changing their preferences. If they achieve a high result in English or mathematics, they may also be able to access up to five adjustment factors through our Academic Excellence Scheme.

At the University of Sydney, most of our courses have a Guaranteed Entry. So, if your child achieves the required selection rank, placing this course as their first preference will guarantee them an offer.

Some students feel the pressure of wasting their ATAR and that they should list a degree with a higher ATAR. The ATAR listed for a degree only represents the lowest ATAR needed to receive an offer and is indicative of demand, not whether it is the best option for your child. Staying true to their interests is what's important. 

If your child has achieved an ATAR of 98+, they may want to consider our high achievers program. The Dalyell Scholars stream offers a range of enrichment opportunities throughout their time at University.

2. My child's ATAR is lower than expected, what are their options?

It is important to remember that a lower ATAR only means the pathway to your child's dream course might be a little different.

The first step is to seek advice on whether there are any admission pathways available to your child, such as the MySydney Scholarship and Entry Scheme. MySydney offers eligible students entry on a reduced ATAR, an $8,500 per annum scholarship and a range of additional support throughout the duration of their undergraduate degree.

Check which courses offer Guaranteed Entry using your child's exam results.

Our shared pool of majors and minors means that our students have the flexibility to take majors from across disciplines through a range of undergraduate degrees.

After one year of full-time study, your child can apply to transfer to another course and have their subjects credited.

There is also the option of applying for a postgraduate degree after completing their undergraduate degree.

3. My child still doesn't know what they want to do?

It can be helpful in this situation to discuss what subjects they enjoy and what they have an interested in.

One option to consider is a liberal degree that gives them the flexibility to explore their interests once they've started university. Not only will this let them hone in on what they enjoy throughout their degree, but will also equip them with broad skills to prepare them for a range of career options.

Our undergraduate students have access to the Open Learning Environment to build diverse skills on a range of topics from emotional intelligence to quantum computing and entrepreneurship. They also have the opportunity to work on real-world interdisciplinary projects, which means they'll graduate with a degree and industry experience.

A liberal degree is a good launchpad for a postgraduate degree, which will enable them to pursue a specialisation or professional qualification on top of the broad foundation of their undergraduate degree.

Do you have further questions?

For more advice and information relevant to your child's particular circumstances, we recommend attending Info Day on campus on 15 December 2023. 

Our academics, course advisers, and professional staff will be there to give your tailored course advice and answer any questions you have.

Last updated 24 November 2023

12 December 2017

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