Skip to menu Skip to content Skip to footer

You're viewing this site as a domestic an international student

You're a domestic student if you are:

  • a citizen of Australia or New Zealand,
  • an Australian permanent resident, or
  • a holder of an Australian permanent humanitarian visa.

You're an international student if you are:

  • intending to study on a student visa,
  • not a citizen of Australia or New Zealand,
  • not an Australian permanent resident, or
  • a temporary resident (visa status) of Australia.
You're viewing this site as a domestic an international student

What is a good ATAR score?

Study tips
Published 17 Aug, 2023  ·  4-minute read

After 12+ months of obsessing over your ATAR, getting your final result may come as a shock, a relief, or maybe even a bit of both. It’s tough to believe all your hard work and study throughout Year 12 boils down to a single number out of 99.95.

Around this time, it’s normal to have a rollercoaster of emotions and plenty of questions, like:

  • What is a good ATAR score?
  • What is a bad ATAR score?
  • What is the average ATAR score?

Btw, the term “ATAR score” is redundant since the R stands for “Rank”. But that’s probably not your top concern right now.

As you read this with your received or predicted ATAR in mind, make sure to remember that comparing yourself to others is only healthy in moderation. They say comparison is the thief of joy because, truth is, there will always be someone with a higher or lower ATAR than you. That’s life.

So, if you find yourself overthinking or stressing too much, it’s helpful to understand just how important your ATAR really is. (Hint: It’ll help you get into university, but it’s basically redundant after that.)

OK, so what’s a good ATAR?

A teenage girl checks her ATAR results in a letter

Honestly, it’s subjective.

Sure, you could measure the goodness of your ATAR based on how it compares to the goal you set for yourself. You might think about whether it reflects how much effort and dedication you put into your assignments and exam prep. Maybe you’ve got an academic rival who was always one mark higher or lower than you in tests, so a good ATAR means being in the same ballpark as they are.

But, at the end of the day, your ATAR is only “good” if it’s what you needed to get into your ideal university program. And that’s pretty much the only metric that matters.

What’s a bad ATAR score then?

A student consoles his disappointed friend

You might judge an ATAR as “bad” if it doesn’t match up with your hopes and expectations, or perhaps if it’s lower than peers who you usually aligned with in school grades.

But, just like a “good” ATAR, this is all subjective.

An ATAR is only truly negative if it prevents you from entering the uni program you had your heart set on.

Even if this is the case, don’t lose hope. Consider rank adjustment factors that could improve your entry score, or learn about the alternate pathways you can take to get into your dream degree.

The highs, the lows, and the in-betweens

If you’re feeling particularly surprised or disheartened about your ATAR, it might help to see the bigger picture. Here are a couple of FAQs about high, low and average ATARs.

Summing up

Maybe you’re proud of your ATAR. Maybe you’re a little disappointed. Either way, just remember that this number is there to help you get into uni. And then it’ll never affect your life again.

So, while it’s perfectly natural to stress a little or maybe even obsess over your ATAR, keep in mind this number doesn’t define you or your future. If it’s what you needed to get into your preferred program, that’s great. But, if not, there are other pathways you can take to get where you want to be.

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.

Related stories