BlogUniversityThe Essential Guide to Applying for University Through QTAC

The Essential Guide to Applying for University Through QTAC

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Feeling a little confused or overwhelmed about how to complete your QTAC application? Stressed about which university degrees to choose from or when QTAC offer rounds are?

Don’t worry — you are not alone, because we’re here to help! We’ll walk you through what QTAC is, help you with ordering your preferences and just navigating all the ins and outs of filling out your application online.

What are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

What is QTAC?
How do you apply for university through QTAC?
How should you order your preferences on your QTAC application?
When are QTAC offers released?
How do you respond to an offer?
When should you submit your preferences?
Tips for Navigating Your QTAC Application for University

What is QTAC? 

QTAC stands for Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre. They process the applications for most of the undergraduate and some of the postgraduate programs offered in Queensland, and is essentially where you can apply for university.

Both school-leavers and mature age students can apply through QTAC for the courses they’d like to be considered for at various universities.

If you’re looking for the NSW equivalent of QTAC, learn more about UAC here!

How do you apply for university through QTAC?

QTAC Application - Steps

Step 1: Create an account

Schools normally organise time in class for their Year 12 students to create accounts. Ensure that when creating your account, you register with your personal email as your school may deactivate your school email account before you receive your QTAC offer.

Your email and mobile number are how you’ll be notified when you have received an offer.  

Step 2: Fill out your details

Once you have registered and logged into your account, select ‘My Application’. Then, fill out the ‘My Details’ section as prompted.

You can also provide your Unique Student Identifier (USI) which can make the application process easier. If you don’t have a USI or don’t remember it, follow the instructions on this website to create or retrieve it!

Step 3: Add in your education and experience

Fill out the next section which is regarding your Education and Experience. If you’ve done prior tertiary study, include it here.

You will be asked for your Learner Unique Identifier (LUI), which again isn’t mandatory but will speed up the process. If you have forgotten your LUI number, follow the instructions on this website to retrieve it.

Step 4: List your course preferences

The next section is ‘Course Preferences’ — this is the exciting part! You can apply for up to six courses at a time.

Apply for at least four courses to ensure that if you miss out on your top preference, you’ve got something to fall back on.

Search for the courses you would like to apply for and add them to your list. Ensure you select the correct starting semester!

How should your order your preferences on your QTAC application?

There are 3 main factors to consider when ordering your courses:

QTAC Application - Factors to Consider

Personal Preference

The 1st and 2nd courses on your preference list should be the ones you want to study the most. Your 3rd and 4th preferences should be backup courses that you’re okay with getting into if you miss out on your first two preferences.

Finally, your 5th and 6th preferences should be pathway courses or courses that after a semester or two of study could get you into your dream course.

ATAR Requirements

The next thing to consider is the ATAR requirements for the courses you’re applying to.

Generally, most students’ ‘dream course’ also tends to have the highest ATAR requirement, which is another good reason for ordering it at the top. That way, if your ATAR isn’t high enough for your first preference, it will most likely still be high enough for a lower preference.

QTAC Offer Round Dates

The final thing to consider is the offer round date of the course. Put courses with earlier offer round dates at the top of your preference list.

If your first preference has a later offer round date than your other preferences, you may not be considered for those lower preferences whilst the status of your first preference remains undecided. 

Example: This student is in Year 12 in 2021 and wants to start study in Semester 1 of 2022. They want to study law and their dream university is UQ.

The Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at UQ also has the highest ATAR requirement (97.00), so it’s their first preference. If not UQ, they would be happy with studying law at either QUT (87.00) or Griffith (80.00).

If they are unable to get into law, then they would want to study criminal justice at either UQ (82.00) or QUT (70.00) and later transfer to law. This is what their QTAC application list would look like: 

QTAC Application - Example

The courses are in order of highest to lowest preference. They all have the same offer round date so there is no need to re-order based on that.

The Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice (Honours) at UQ has a higher ATAR requirement than the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at Griffith, which means that if the student does not get an offer for Griffith Law, then it is quite unlikely that they will get an offer for Criminal Justice at UQ.

This can be tricky to figure out, but ultimately, QTAC will try to get you an offer for your highest preference, so desirability is the best way to rank the courses!

When are QTAC offers released?

There are multiple ‘offer rounds’ throughout the year on QTAC, starting in August till the end of June the next year.

Most offers are released in the mid-January main offer round, but a decent number of people also get offers in the November and December offer rounds. This depends on your course — the competitiveness of it, whether ATAR is taken into account, and other course prerequisites.

See the list of Key Dates here!

How do you respond to an offer?

Firstly, log into your QTAC account. Then, under ‘My Application’ select ‘View or Edit’. Under ‘Offers’, select ‘View offer details’ and select the ‘Respond to offer’ link.

You have three response options:

QTAC Application - Responses

#1: Outright

Select this option if you’ve been offered your first preference, want to accept it, and you don’t want to be considered for other courses.

Alternatively, if you decide university isn’t for you, you can reject the offer and choose to not be considered for other courses. Whether you accept or reject you will not be considered for other courses. 

#2: Conditional, with no change of preference

Choose this option if you didn’t get your first preference this offer round and you’d like to wait for the next offer round, but you don’t want to lose your spot in the offer you’ve just received. 

#3: Conditional, with change of preference

Go for this option if you’re in a similar situation as above, but you want to change your preference list. Make sure any courses you want to be considered for are above the one you’ve just been offered. 

When should you submit your preferences? 

Some courses have entry requirements other than your ATAR, and so it’s important that you double check whether the course you want to apply has any other requirement as well as if it has a fixed closing date.

For example, if you wanted to apply for the Bachelor of Dental Health Science at Griffith University, you would need to apply (i.e. put on your QTAC preference list) by September 30th to be considered. You can still reorder the preference after this date.

Note that you can change your preferences up to three times for free. After the third time, a small fee will apply.

Ultimately, it would be best to first submit your preferences late August/early September. Then, if required, you can amend your preferences after the external exams, again after you receive your ATAR, and again after you receive your offers.

Tips for Applying for University Through QTAC

#1: The cut-offs for courses can change every year depending on how many students apply

For the Bachelor of Nursing at QUT for example, the lowest adjusted score to which QUT made an offer in Semester 1, 2020 was 79. However, the lowest adjusted score to which QUT made an offer in Semester 1, 2021 was 87. So, it’s incredibly important that you have backup courses on your preference list just in case things don’t go to plan. 

#2: Some courses have an offer guarantee ATAR or selection rank

For the Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at QUT, for example, if you receive an ATAR of 90.00 or above, you are guaranteed a place in the course (be mindful that this could change year to year)!

#3: Not all courses can be deferred

Note that not all courses can be deferred and deferring a course could make you ineligible to hold a scholarship if you’ve applied for one. 

#4: You might be eligible for the EAS

If you have faced any disadvantages during Year 11 and/or 12 which have negatively impacted your educational performance, consider applying for the Educational Access Scheme (EAS). If accepted, institutions can increase your selection rank (ATAR) by applying an equity adjustment factor (or ‘bonus points’), making your course application more competitive.

Categories of hardships include Financial Hardship, English Language Difficulties, Personal Illness and more. You can apply for the EAS in the ‘My Details’ section of your QTAC application.

For more information, head here to learn about EAS!

There you have it!

Now that you’ve read through our entire guide on completing your QTAC application, it’s time to sort through your course preferences and do some research on the university degrees you’re considering after high school!

Check out the student profiles we’ve done for various university degrees here!


Yalindi Binduhewa is an Art of Smart tutor based in Queensland and was part of the very first cohort to go through the ATAR system, so she knows exactly how fun and enjoyable it can be. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Medical Imaging (Honours) at QUT and is loving it. When she’s not doing uni-related stuff or tutoring, she’s hanging out with her friends, rewatching a show for the 100th time, or trying out new crafty projects and discovering that she doesn’t have a talent for everything. 

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