BlogUniversityHow to Set Your Goal ATAR to Get Into Your Dream University Degree

How to Set Your Goal ATAR to Get Into Your Dream University Degree

Everyone has an ATAR goal in mind that they would like to achieve. But how do you make it a reality?

Well, the first step is to properly set your ATAR goal and we’re going to take you through how you can do this! 

Let’s get straight into it! 

Why should you set an ATAR goal?
Step 1: Research University Courses
Step 2: Identify the Marks You Need to Achieve
Step 3: Write Down Your Goal ATAR

Why should you set an ATAR goal?

Now, perhaps you’re not sure what you want to do after school and you’re thinking that you don’t need a goal ATAR. However, the thing is that everyone should have an ATAR goal because it will:

  • Motivate you 
  • Provide direction on what you need to do
  • Act as an indication of how hard you need to work
  • Maximise your university options 

That means that it will help enable you to study whatever it is you want to if you reach that goal. 

We’ll take you through three steps to help you set the ultimate ATAR goal!

Step 1: Research University Courses and their ATAR Cut-offs

You’ll need to spend some time investigating which university courses you might want to study after school. Remember to keep your options open and it’s a good idea to create a list of possible university courses that you’re interested in. 

We’ve got a whole range of articles about what it’s like studying various degrees at different universities — check them out here!

Check out what’s on offer

Go check out the university admission centres for their respective states (UAC, QTAC, VTAC). Perhaps you really know what you want to study, maybe you have a few different ideas or you just aren’t sure.

Either way, what you want to do is find all the universities that offer a certain degree you’re thinking about. You want to see all your options so don’t rule any universities out yet.

We know that you might have your eyes set on a degree at a particular university but for now, it’s just a good idea to get an understanding of what’s out there. 

Take a look at the top 10 most employable degrees in Australia! Click here!

What’s the guaranteed ATAR for the course?

Now, the next thing is to find out if there is a guaranteed ATAR for each of those courses. That means that if you get the guaranteed ATAR or above, you’ll get an offer for that course.

Don’t worry, if you don’t meet the guaranteed ATAR because increasingly up to one in two students receive an offer for their chosen degree below the guaranteed cut-off. 

On the university admission centre portal, for each university course you’ll be able to find the range of ATARs that previous students have been accepted into that specific course for. That includes the Lowest ATAR, Median ATAR and Highest ATAR.

From this data, you can get an idea of where you’ll need to be to get into the degree. So if you get close to the median ATAR, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll get an offer. 

What’s the highest ATAR you need to achieve?

It’s time to find the highest ATAR cut-off out of all the university degrees you’re interested in. This is all about maximising your options because if you can reach that highest ATAR cut-off, then you’ll still be able to apply for any of the other courses.

It’s all about keeping your options open! Don’t forget to keep the ranges in mind because that will help take some of the pressure off.

It’s like a back-up plan in case you don’t reach that highest ATAR cut-off that you’re after. 

Our BEST advice for you is to attend a University Open Day! Explore the campus, talk to current students, and get advice on your degree choice. Use our Comprehensive List of Open Day Dates for Universities to plan ahead!

Step 2: Identify the Marks You Need to Achieve

So, now you have your ATAR goal and know the range you need to get into.

This next step is determining the required marks needed for each subject so that you can achieve your ATAR goal. This way, you’ll be more motivated because you’ll have a better understanding about the amount of effort you need to put in to get those marks. 

It’s time to head over to an ATAR calculator — now there’s no need to freak out because we’re just using the calculator to work out what marks you need to get for, let’s say, an ATAR of 90.

Here’s a quick step by step on how to do this: 

  1. Put in the highest ATAR cut-off you want to achieve
  2. Select your all your HSC subjects 
  3. Play around with the HSC mark for each subject (depending on how confident you are with a subject, put your best subjects a bit higher and the ones that you find more challenging lower)
  4. Get a sense of the the scaled marks you’ll need for each subject to reach your chosen highest ATAR cut-off

This exercise is by no means meant to scare you — instead it will help you get a solid idea of how hard you need to work to meet your goal. 

Before we move onto the next section, let’s quickly recap everything you should have by now:

  1. List of all the possible university degrees you’re interested in 
  2. Guaranteed ATAR cut-off and the range for each of the degrees 
  3. Your highest ATAR cut-off and range that you’re aiming for 
  4. The marks that you need for each subject to hit your ATAR goal

Curious about how your school ranks in terms of ATAR results? Check out our list of Brisbane’s top co-ed and single sex schools to compare!

Step 3: Write Down Your Goal ATAR

That’s right! You gotta see it to believe it. So, write all the info down and stick it up where you’ll see it everyday.

That way, it will motivate you, inspire you and encourage you to keep working hard because there is an end goal in sight.

It’s always a great idea to make these reminders colourful and fun — you’ll be looking at it everyday so make it something that you want to look at! 

Remember, a bachelor degree is not the only way to get into your dream work field! There are many different tertiary study options which you can read about here!

And there we go! 

Those are our three steps to help you set an ATAR goal! We want you to maximise your university options so if you haven’t already, it’s time to start working on your ATAR goal!

Check out some of our other uni articles below:

Looking for some extra help with study?

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Tanna Nankivell is a Senior Content Writer at Art of Smart Education and is currently in Germany completing a year of study for her double degree in Communications (Journalism) and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies). She has had articles published on Central News – the UTS Journalism Lab and wrote a feature piece for Time Out Sydney during her internship. Tanna has a love for travel and the great outdoors, you’ll either find her on the snowfields or in the ocean, teaching aqua aerobics or creating short films.

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