How do university applications work? QTAC explained - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Parent Lounge Update

How do university applications work? QTAC explained

5 Aug 2019

If your child is thinking about university, they will need to apply through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). QTAC applications for 2020 are now open, so it's a great time to brush up on your QTAC knowledge.

Be sure to also register for USC's Parent Information evenings coming up in September, which will include a special presentation on getting into university.

How do you apply?

Current Year 12 students apply online via the QTAC website. You child will need:

  • Their personal details, including information about their school and any VET qualifications they may have completed
  • The names and QTAC codes of the program/s they’re applying for
  • Their 10-digit Learner Unique Identifier (LUI) number
  • Payment for the application fee

Your child can list up to six degree preferences on their QTAC application, with their preferred degree as first preference.

The application fee for Year 12 students is $44 until 29 February 2020. After that, the fee increases to $75. For non-Year 12 students, the application fee is $75 until 30 September 2019. After this date, the fee increases to $177 up until 31 January 2020.

If your child has completed USC's Headstart program, they will need to list their Headstart study in the Post-secondary section of their application. QTAC will obtain their grades directly from USC.

When do applications close?

Under the current QTAC application process, there is no official 'closing' date for applications. Instead, each offer round has its own due date to apply and submit documents. (Keep reading for more information about offer rounds.)

It's best to encourage your child to complete their application as soon as possible, so QTAC has plenty of time to complete the assessment process. For more information visit the QTAC key dates page.

Can QTAC preferences be changed?

After your child submits their QTAC application, they can change their preferences up to three times free of charge. Each change made after that will cost $44.

There is also a limited window to change preferences after an offer has been made. For more information visit the QTAC key dates page.

What is a minimum selection threshold?

The minimum selection threshold is the minimum OP or QTAC selection rank required for entry to a course. Thresholds can vary from year to year and from offer round to offer round, depending on the number and quality of applications a course receives.

The QTAC Guide and USC's Undergraduate Guide includes minimum selection thresholds 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/selection ranks, and the number of places available in each course.

You can find more information about minimum selection thresholds on the QTAC website, or contact USC Student Central.

When are offers sent?

Most Year 12 students will receive their offer just before Christmas. However, the timing of an offer depends on a number of factors, including your child’s OP or rank and the specific university and program applied for.

Some programs have a flexible number of places available, while others have a restricted number. If your child has applied for a program with a restriction, expect to hear in one of the scheduled offer rounds, most likely on 15 January.

If the program has subject prerequisites (previous study that has to have been completed to gain entry into a program) or requires a minimum OP for entry, your child is likely to hear after OPs are released. This could be just before Christmas or it may be on 15 January.

If your child has successfully applied for USC's Early Offer Guarantee program, they will likely receive an offer in November.

Some programs do not have number restrictions or subject prerequisites. Students who have applied for these programs may receive offers as early as the last day of Year 12.

What to do once your child receives their offer?

If your child receives an offer, they will get a notification from QTAC. They will need to login into their QTAC account and choose to accept/defer/decline this offer. Your son or daughter will also receive an offer from USC. This will include all the info your child needs to enrol in their classes and get ready for a flying start to their first semester at USC. For more information about the steps to activate your child’s offer and enrol, visit our website.

What happens if your child doesn't get an offer in January?

Your child may still receive an offer at a later date. Not everyone who is made an offer enrols, so places may become available.

If your son or daughter doesn’t receive an offer in the 15 January 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, encourage them to contact us and ask about other pathways to study.

Does your child have to start university in 2020?

If your child receives an offer but doesn’t want to start university straight away, it is possible to defer the offer. Most universities will let students defer an offer for up to one year. At USC, we allow students to defer most programs for up to two years. Visit our website for more information about how to defer an offer.

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