Tertiary Selection and the ATAR

More information is available in The Age and Herald Sun newspaper supplements.

VTAC administers the course application, selection and offer processes, and provides applicant information (including VCE and VCAL results) to the tertiary institution selection officers. When selecting students, selection officers largely use information about each applicant’s VCE performance. The information used, and how it is used, varies between institutions and courses.

First, an applicant must meet the minimum tertiary entrance requirements.
For higher education courses this is usually satisfactory completion of the VCE including the completion of Units 3 and 4 in one of VCE English studies in the same year. The same minimum requirement applies for most VET courses, however it does vary between institutions. For more information about minimum tertiary entrance requirements please see the VTAC Guide or VTAC website.

Second, an applicant must meet any VCE prerequisites for the course.
Students not satisfying the prerequisites are generally not considered for the course. Raw study scores (or unscaled study scores) are applied in this case.

The third factor used in selection is an overall measure of how well an applicant performed in all their VCE studies compared with all other VCE students. This measure is called the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) and is developed for the purposes of tertiary selection only.

The ATAR is only calculated for students who have completed their VCE and have met tertiary entrance requirements.


The ATAR is not the only mechanism used for tertiary selection, and it is not used for all VCE applicants. A large number of courses use a range of other selection mechanisms such as interviews, auditions, assessment of folios and aptitude tests. Other criteria may include performance in prerequisite studies or other studies relevant to the course. Applications for special consideration are also taken into account.

All universities are committed to considering around 20 per cent of applicants on a range of criteria broader than just the ATAR. TAFE institutes and independent tertiary colleges normally use a range of criteria and generally do not select solely on the ATAR.

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