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An ATAR isn't the 'be all and end all' to secure a place at university

Fewer students than ever before are getting into university based on an ATAR, as universities develop more diverse ways to assess student potential, a new report from the Mitchell Institute highlights. 

Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said the ‘Crunching the number’ report was an excellent review of the use and usefulness of an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).  

"The national data shows very clearly that an ATAR has become less important as a path to an offer as our universities have developed a broader set of assessment tools," she said. 

“What is not often well understood is that there are now a number of pathways into university." 

Fewer than half of all new students enrolling at university now come straight from high school. Only one in four students is admitted based on their ATAR. 

"An ATAR can still be useful – but it's important for high school students and parents to know that an ATAR isn't the only way into a place at university," Ms Robinson said. 

"It certainly can't tell you everything about a student or their ability to succeed at university." 

“In recent years, we've been seeing students from a much broader range of ages and backgrounds coming through a variety of pathways to study at university. This is a great thing.” 

And for students who seek to use their ATAR to apply for universities, information on course requirements and cut-off rankings is now easier to access and compare between universities. 

Universities Australia helped to develop this clearer guidance as part of a review commissioned by Education Minister Simon Birmingham and overseen by the Higher Education Standards Panel. 

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