I want to study Engineering at UNSW … But I’m worried about my ATAR

Year 12 can be tough … Especially this year! Remember you are not your ATAR or test score, take a deep breath and maybe meditate before you do your research on pathways into university. Perhaps you have spent too much time typing in potential results into ATAR calculators but don’t stress, you’re not the only one worried. Sometimes, no matter how hard you have worked and for all kinds of reasons, your ATAR might be not what you wanted.

The good news is this doesn't mean you won’t be able to do Engineering at UNSW! Here are three ways of boosting your chances of getting in and one bonus pathway of getting into uni.

Thinking about how to get into uni.

By Lucy Barrie, Fourth year Mining Engineering Student.

1. UNSW Gateway

 If you go to a school that’s listed in the ‘Gateway’ program, then you can apply for an early conditional offer for UNSW. You pretty much apply with a personal statement, some school reports and work to back up your academics, and if your application is successful you get a conditional offer. There are also free programs throughout the year that give you resources and information to help you succeed in your HSC and stay motivated. Find out more and if your school is eligible here.

2. Faculty of Engineering Admissions Scheme (FEAS)

If you’re keen on Engineering and not sure you’ll get the Guaranteed Entry Rank of 91.00, FEAS is a must-do – it’s so easy and anyone finishing Year 12 in Australia or New Zealand is eligible. The Faculty of Engineering Admissions Scheme is for you if you want to do Engineering at UNSW and think you’ll get an ATAR of between 81.00 to 90.95. You apply online and again submit some of your school reports, answer some questions and then make a video showing why you’re the best fit for Engineering. There’s more info here.

3. Adjustment Factors (AKA Bonus Points)

These pathways into UNSW are all about acknowledging the extra challenges, disadvantages or side work you might have been doing during Years 11 and 12. These three categories add adjustment factors to your ATAR to get your ‘Selection Rank’. Across these three categories, you can get a maximum of 10 extra points.

  • HSC Plus - These are the easiest points to get because you don’t have to apply for them! They’re allocated based on how you go in certain HSC subjects relating to the degree you want to do. For example, if you’re applying for Electrical Engineering (through UAC) and you got a Band 5 in Physics, you can get 1 bonus point, or 2 points for a top band in Extension 1 Maths. You can get up to a total of 5 points from HSC Plus! You can find out more about it here.

 

  • EAPL Program - The Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders Program gives adjustment factors for doing extra ‘stuff’ while you’re in Year 11 and 12. This includes high level sport, music and performance, leadership (like the Duke of Ed or being School Captain) and academic activities (NYSF, ICAS, Olympiad Awards). Different activities have different points levels, but you can pick up a maximum of 5 points from this program. There are quite a few activities on the list so check if your extracurricular activity is eligible. For this program you do have to apply, and applications are open from the start of August to 30 November. Read more here.

 

  • UNSW ACCESS Scheme - The ACCESS Scheme is to help anyone who has had continual or long-term educational disadvantage. This could include things like financial hardship, refugee status, long-term illness or disability, or attendance at a disadvantaged high school. For this scheme you need to apply, although it’s assessed through the UAC Educational Assess Scheme (EAS) so the single application will cover you for all your UAC preferences. You can get up to 10 adjustment factors from this. Find out more here.

Bonus pathway  Non-Recent School Leaver & UNSW Prep Program

Going to university is a huge decision and it can be a smart move to delay going, perhaps to take a year to get some work experience or travel (that is, when travel restrictions are finally lifted), or to complete some other higher education options like TAFE. But the great news is that there are heaps of options for students who are two years out of highschool. Read more here for all the options.

Also, for recent school leavers, whose final years at high school didn’t go so well, there’s the University Prep Program (UNSW Prep), which prepares you for the UNSW ACCESS Scheme for entry into uni.

Watch this video to hear more about the UNSW Prep Program.