How do I apply to go to university? QTAC explained

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How do I apply to go to university? QTAC explained

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Monday 4 July 2016

If your son or daughter is considering university next year they will need to apply through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). The QTAC application closing date is just around the corner (September 30) so now is a great time to brush up on your QTAC knowledge.

How do I submit a QTAC application? Can I change my university preferences? What do I do if I don’t get accepted to university? Here are the answers to a few common questions students ask about QTAC applications.

What if I miss the QTAC closing date?

September 30 is the official “on-time” QTAC closing date but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed out. The application fee will increase but you can still apply for the major offer round.

Can I change my QTAC preferences?

After you complete your QTAC application you can change your QTAC preferences up to three times free of charge. Any changes after that will cost about $36.

You can also change your QTAC preferences after an offer has been made. So, for example, if your son or daughter does not receive an offer in the January round they could change their preferences to include courses with a lower OP/rank cut off to increase their chances of getting a university offer in the next round.
Parent helping their child on the laptop

How does QTAC decide who to offer university places to? 

QTAC will look at the entire list of applicants for a particular course and rank them in order from highest to lowest according to OP. Then they will then allocate all the available places based on that order.

The QTAC Guide includes an OP cut-off from the previous year which you can use as an indicator of the level of achievement likely to be required to gain a place. It's important to remember, however, that the required OP for entry in each year may differ from the previous year, depending on the number of applicants, their OPs and the number of places available in each course. For example, the Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics at USC had an OP cut-off of 8 in 2015. This means the last place in that program was offered to a person with an OP8. This year, if more people apply and they have better OPs, then cut off may decrease.

When will I know if I’ve gotten into university?

The majority of university offers are made in the “major offer round” in January but the QTAC system is changing for 2017 so there is no simple answer to this question. There will still be a major offer round in January but some courses may be offered to students much earlier depending on a number of factors including your OP or entry rank, the University you are applying to and the program you are applying for.

Some programs are more flexible in the number of places available whereas others are managed to ensure requirements like work placements can be accommodated. If you are applying for a program where the availability is restricted by a quota, you can expect to hear in one of the major offer rounds, most likely in January.

If you are applying for a program that is not quota managed and doesn’t have subject prerequisites, you may be offered your program as early as the last day of school if you meet the entry criteria for your first preference with a rank or certificate qualification. If you are applying for a program that has subject prerequisites or you need your OP to meet the entry criteria, you are likely to hear after OPs are released.

There is more information coming soon so if you’d like us to keep you in the loop, sign up for updates and we’ll send you information on the new system once it’s available.

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What happens if I don’t get an offer in January?

You may still receive an offer at a later date. The bulk of university offers are made in January but not everyone who is made an offer enrols. This means that places may still be available.

If your son or daughter doesn’t receive an offer in the major offer round it’s a good idea to encourage them to have a look at their preferences and make adjustments according to their OP.

If they don’t receive an offer in any of the QTAC rounds, contact us and ask about alternative entry pathways. At USC we offer a free-of-charge Tertiary Preparation Program which is a great way to get used to university study and can provide direct entry to most courses.

What if I don’t get an offer for my first preference? What if I receive an offer for another lower preference?

You can respond with a conditional acceptance of the offer for the lower preference course. This is like reserving the offer as a back-up option. If, in later rounds, your son or daughter doesn't receive an offer for the degree you were hoping for, they can return to their conditionally accepted offer and enrol in that program.

Do I have to start university in the same year?

If your son or daughter is offered a place in a course but they don't want to start straight away they can defer their offer. Most unis will let students defer an offer for up to one year. At USC, we allow students to defer for up to two years. Visit our website for more information about deferring an offer.

Hopefully we've answered some of your questions here. If you've got any more come along to USC Open Day or a Meet USC event and have a chat with us in person.

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