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How to get extra ATAR points

How to get extra ATAR points (rank adjustments)

Study tips
Published 11 Aug, 2023  ·  6-minute read

The rumours are true. There’s a magical bonus you can get to boost your ATAR and help you get into the uni program of your dreams. It’s called – drum roll please – adjustment factors.

Unfortunately, these adjustments aren’t thrown around like red frogs at schoolies – you need to meet specific criteria to be eligible to receive them. But they can give you a competitive edge when applying for your preferred program, especially if your ATAR falls a bit lower than you were expecting.

Here’s how adjustment factors work.

Throughout this article, when we talk about adjustment factors, rank adjustments or bonus ATAR points, we’re talking about the same thing.

What are adjustment factors?

It’s worth noting that while many people refer to adjustment factors as extra ATAR points, they don’t actually add to your overall ATAR. It’s like a little bonus that tertiary institutions (such as universities) add onto your ATAR to increase your selection rank, helping you get into specific programs at that institution.

For example: you put down UQ's Bachelor of Science as your first preference through QTAC. It has an entry score threshold of 80. You receive a 78 ATAR, but because you attended school at Mount Isa, you receive 2 adjustments from UQ for living in a remote area, boosting your selection rank to 80. As long as you meet the subject prerequisites, you are now eligible to gain entry into this course.

It’s also important to know that different institutions have different types of adjustment factors and vary the maximum number of rank adjustments you can gain – for UQ, it’s a max of 5.

What can you get bonus ATAR points for?

So, what exactly can you get adjustment factors for? Different universities provide rank adjustments for different things, but here are the main reasons.

The additional categories below are not recognised as adjustment factors at UQ.

Do you get extra ATAR points for Duke of Ed?

Some universities offer adjustment factors for students who have completed certain levels of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award. However, QTAC does not recognise Duke of Ed for university entry. Likewise, if you're wondering 'does Duke of Ed give ATAR points for entry into UQ?', the answer is no. However, Duke of Ed will set you up with the skills and experience to continue your leadership training through various UQ programs and initiatives, so it's certainly still worth pursuing in high school if you are able to commit time and effort to it.

UQ Link scholarship recipient, Appolonia, leans against the sandstone walls of The Great Court

Appolonia received 5 adjustment factors when she applied for the Educational Access Scheme (EAS) through QTAC and qualified for the UQ Link Scholarship.

Other noteworthy admissions schemes

They may not necessarily give you extra ATAR points, but they will help you get into your chosen program if you’re eligible.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander admissions schemes

Most tertiary institutions have schemes to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to get into the program they wish to study. Find out more about UQ’s admissions pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

UQ’s undergraduate law admission scheme

This one is specific to UQ and is for school leavers from an educationally disadvantaged or culturally diverse background wishing to study law. Read the criteria to see if it can help you gain entry into a law program at UQ.

How do I apply for rank adjustments?

The process to apply for adjustment factors can differ depending on which ones you’re applying for, and through what institution.

You can apply for all EAS categories through QTAC – you just need to tick the EAS box on your application and provide the relevant supporting documentation. QTAC will then assess your suitability for the scheme.

You may receive some adjustment factors without needing to do anything, such as those connected to attending your local university and completing specific Year 12 courses. Others you will need to apply for through QTAC or the institution itself.

The best way to find out what you need to do is to check the websites of the universities you’ve listed as a preference, to see if they provide any specific directions for applying for rank adjustments or admissions schemes.

Got more questions about ATAR? Read our article How does ATAR work and what does it mean? to find answers. Or contact our friendly team to chat one-on-one about your specific circumstances.

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