Admission into university is competitive with most courses having more applicants than places. There are four steps to gaining entry to University:
- meet the requirements of Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) prescribed by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority, and
- achieve competence in English as prescribed by the individual universities, and
- obtain a sufficiently high Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) for entry to a particular course, and
- satisfy any prerequisites or special requirements for entry to particular courses.
1. Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)
For 2020 and beyond, students will need to meet:
- The Literacy and Numeracy Standard
- Breadth and Depth
- The Achievement Standard
Literacy & Numeracy Standard
Students must demonstrate that they have met the minimum standard for literacy and numeracy, which is based on skills regarded as essential for individuals to meet the demands of everyday life and work.
Students can demonstrate the minimum standard:
- By demonstrating Band 8 or higher in their Year 9 NAPLAN, reading, writing and numeracy tests
- By successfully completing the Authority’s Online Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (OLNA) reading, writing and numeracy components
The OLNA is compulsory for those students who have not prequalified in one or more of the components through Year 9 NAPLAN and want to achieve the WACE. Students will have up to six opportunities (two per year) between Year 10 and Year 12 to demonstrate the literacy and numeracy minimum standard.
Breadth and Depth
Students must complete a minimum of 20 course units or the equivalent. This requirement must include at least:
- a minimum of ten Year 12 units or the equivalent
- two completed Year 11 English units and one pair of completed Year 12 English units
- one pair of Year 12 course units from each of List A (Arts/English/Languages/Social Sciences) and List B (Mathematics/Science/Technology).
Students must achieve atleast 14 C grades (or equivalents, see below) in Year 11 and Year 12 units, including at least six C grades (or equivalents) in Year 12 units .
There will be provision for students to gain unit equivalence by completing:
VET qualifications – a Certificate I is equivalent to two Year 11 units, a Certificate II is equivalent to two Year 11 and two Year 12 units and a Certificate III or higher is equivalent to two Year 11 and four Year 12 units.
Endorsed programs – unit equivalence is identified on the SCSA approved list of endorsed programs.
For unit equivalence, students may only use up to eight units of VET and endorsed programs with a maximum of four unit equivalents from endorsed programs.
2. Competence in English (as prescribed by individual universities)
A scaled mark of at least 50% in an ATAR course in English, Literature or EALD.
If a student has a WACE and an ATAR above a prescribed minimum but has a scaled mark less than 50% in an ATAR English, Literature or EALD course he may be invited to sit a STAT or IELTS to demonstrate his competence in English.
3. Pre-requisite and Preferred Subjects
A scaled mark of at least 50% in specified ATAR courses at Unit 3/4 level.
See university information prospectuses for courses that have specific prerequisites or preferred subjects.
4. Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
The sum of a student’s best four scaled WACE courses plus any applicable course-specific bonuses will produce a Tertiary Entrance Aggregate (TEA) which will be translated into an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). The maximum TEA is 430.
The calculation of the TEA is subject to the following conditions:
- Scaled WACE course/examination results may be accumulated over consecutive five years with no course counting more than once.
- A LOTE bonus of 10% of a LOTE scaled score is added to the aggregate of the best four scaled scores, irrespective of whether the LOTE course scaled score was counted as one of the best four.
- A Mathematics bonus of 10% of the scaled score for each of Mathematics Methods and Mathematics Specialist is added to the aggregate of the best four scaled scores, irrespective of whether the Mathematics Methods and/or Mathematics Specialist course scaled scores are counted in the best four.
- Unacceptable combination rules will apply to ATAR Mathematics courses:
Mathematics Applications and Mathematics Methods are an unacceptable combination. Mathematics Applications and Mathematics Specialist are an unacceptable combination.
Only one score from the unacceptable combination can be used in the calculation of the ATAR.
Scores from Mathematics Methods and Mathematics Specialist may both be used in the calculation of the ATAR.
The meaning of an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR)
Access to courses at public universities is decided by a student’s Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. This is a number with a maximum of 99.95 which reports a student‘s rank relative to all other Western Australian students of Year 12 school leaving age. The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank includes all students and not just tertiary bound students, so it maintains comparability from year to year and it provides consistency for transfer to universities elsewhere in Australia.
An ATAR of 88.50 for example, would mean that this student was in the top 11.50% of all Western Australian students of Year 12 school leaving age or in other words, the student was equal to or better than 88.50% of students his age in the State. The ATAR required to gain entry to a particular course depends on student demand and the supply of places available. The ‘cut-off’ ATAR will, therefore, vary from course to course and from year to year. For example, if there are a limited number of places available in the Veterinary Science course at Murdoch University, and the student demand is very high, the cut-off ATAR will also be high. In previous years, students have received second round offers for some courses with an ATAR lower than the first round offer. While this may encourage many students to select a university course, it should be remembered that:
- The academic rigour of the course still remains high.
- Failure rates for first year students at universities are significant.
- Employment prospects for students graduating with lower university grades are not as promising.
- Further information on the ATAR and cut-off levels for University courses can be found at www.tisc.edu.au or from the Scotch College Careers Adviser.
Entry Requirements for Medicine and Dentistry
Curtin University commenced an undergraduate Medicine degree in 2017 which requires a suitable UMAT score, a successful interview and a sufficiently high ATAR.
UWA will offer a limited number of direct entry places to students who achieve an ATAR of 99+, a suitable UMAT score and a successful interview. Students aiming for entry to medicine or dentistry will complete a Bachelor degree and then compete for a place in a new four-year Doctor of Medicine (MD) course or a four-year Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDMD) course. Students will be required to sit the Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test (GAMSAT), obtain a minimum GPA of 5.5 in their undergraduate degree which is approximately equivalent to a weighted average of 65% and attend a structured interview. Final offers are based on all three components.
Students seeking a placement in undergraduate Medicine at most interstate universities will still be required to sit the UMAT.
Entry to the University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame selects students on the basis of a broad range of information provided by the student, the student’s school and others in a position to provide supporting evidence.
This process is designed to ensure that the university selects students who demonstrate:
- Adequate ability, preparation and potential to succeed in university studies.
- The motivation to complete such a course.
- Personal qualities that will enhance the university community.
Students need to provide a completed application form, results of Year 11 and Semester 1 Year 12 studies and personal references. An interview with university staff generally occurs as well. In most instances, a student will have successfully undertaken a tertiary entrance course, although the university does not insist on particular course combinations. It seeks evidence only that a student has an appropriately rigorous academic preparation for university.