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AUG 13, 2020 • 6 min read
That’s right. If you’re studying the HSC, VCE, QCE, SACE, WACE or any other equivalent local curriculum, you can 100% use your ATAR rank (the holy grail being the 99.95) as part of your application to international universities like Harvard, Oxford, Stanford and more.
For many Australian students and parents, this might come as a bit of a surprise as the common misconception is that students have to study the International Baccalaureate (IB) to apply overseas. The truth is, both can be used to apply overseas but here are five must know facts if you’re intending to apply overseas with an ATAR score.
The application deadlines for the majority of international universities are before your final ATAR score comes out (dates range from October to January depending on where you apply) but there is a workaround. You can apply to universities using a predicted score. This is a score you can get from your high school and your career advisor is usually the best person to chat with to get the ball rolling. In some cases, this predicted score plus other elements of your application can get you full admission offers or get you conditional offers. If you get a conditional offer, they’re basically wanting you to submit your actual scores so they can better judge your academic performance.
The US and UK application process are holistic, meaning that they look at more than just your ATAR score. This is to ensure that accepted students will fit in with the campus atmosphere and make the most of their university experience. This is especially the case in the US where they put a lot of emphasis on a student’s extracurriculars and essays. The two main takeaways here is that a 99.95 ATAR does not guarantee admission and you need to be working on your application over as much time as possible. As a guide, you will improve your chances if you start researching and working on the application requirements from Year 10.
You can download the international ATAR/IB Score Guide to get an idea of the scores needed for top unis. In the UK, they are more firm on the cut-off scores so make sure you study hard!
This is particularly the case for US sports scholarship eligibility and for subject-specific courses like physics, economics, etc. Whatever your path, keep in mind that universities will be looking for ‘academic rigor’ in your subject choice. This basically means that you’re taking subjects that are considered challenging subjects. If you want to know more about subject selection and prerequisites, check university websites, or speak to our Academic Advisors.
Unlike here in Australia where cut-off scores vary considerably depending on the course you’re aiming for, top US and UK unis have consistently high scores for admission regardless of what you’re aiming to study. If you’re aiming for competitive universities or competitive courses (eg. Electrical Engineering / Computer Science at unis like UC Berkeley) then this is where strategy comes in. You can improve your admission chances by understanding the impacts of decisions such as course choice, admission rounds, and university selection - all of which Crimson Education Strategists assist with.
Got some questions about subject selection or how to use your ATAR score to apply to universities? Visit our Webinars and Workshops page to register for our upcoming webinar or request a free and private consultation with our Academic Advisors where they can help you understand the full US or UK application process.