BlogUniversityWhat Adjustment Factors (Bonus Points) Does USYD Offer?

What Adjustment Factors (Bonus Points) Does USYD Offer?

USYD Bonus Points:Adjustment Factors - Featured Image

Although the ATAR sounds like the final mark, the yes or no, into your dream course… it isn’t! If USYD is your dream uni, then there are some adjustment factors, also known as ‘bonus points’, which can help to boost your selection rank!

There are so many different pathways and entry schemes that can provide you admission into a range of courses. So today, we’re taking a look at the different adjustment factors on offer at USYD to help you get into your desired degree. 

Keep reading to find out more!

What are USYD Adjustment Factors/Bonus Points?
High Achiever in Maths or English
From Regional Australia or Have Experienced Financial Difficulties
Been Disadvantaged Throughout Year 12
School Captain or Dux
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Student
Want to Study Music, Design or Visual Arts
Trained as an Athlete or Performer During the HSC

What are USYD Adjustment Factors/Bonus Points?

Essentially, at USYD, adjustment factors are extra marks or ‘bonus points’ that help increase your chances of getting into a certain course. Majority of the time you receive adjustment factors by applying for specific admission pathways or schemes, which we will explain in more detail. 

Adjustment factors are designed to take into consideration the different circumstances and backgrounds of students, and aims to provide a fair opportunity for all students to get into their desired course.

Bonus points are either added onto your ATAR to increase your selection rank, or it can lower the ATAR requirement for that course, given your personal circumstances. It is important to note that adjustment factors do not change your ATAR, they only change your selection rank for specific courses at a given university — for example, USYD. 

Let’s say, your dream course may require an ATAR of 95.00, but realistically, you are expecting an ATAR of 85.00. By applying for an admission pathway that suits your circumstances, the entry mark for that course could be lowered to an 85.00, granting you a position in the course!

Now let’s look into the different schemes and adjustment factors on offer at USYD, to see what you may be eligible for. 

I was a High Achiever in Maths or English

USYD Bonus Points and Adjustment Factors - Maths English

If you received a Band 5, Band 6, or E4, in Mathematics, Advanced English or above levels, you are eligible for the Academic Excellence Scheme at USYD. This scheme at USYD provides you with 1 to 5 bonus points for high achievement in Maths and/or English.

Generally speaking, if you achieve a Band 5 in either subject, you receive 3 adjustment points or bonus points that are added onto your ATAR. If you achieve a Band 6 or an E4 (for Extension subjects) you can be granted an additional 5 points. This can help you get into your desired course! 

Learn more about how HSC Bands work here!

It is important to note that some courses do not provide as many adjustment points. For instance, a Bachelor of Psychology will only provide one additional point for a Band 5, and 2 points for a Band 6 or E4. Further, there are a number of courses which are excluded from this scheme, which can be found here.

If you achieve a Band 5, 6 or E4 in Maths of English, the Academic Excellence Scheme will automatically be applied to your selection rank at the release of marks and offer rounds.

Note: If you studied Standard English, Standard 1 or 2 Maths, the Academic Excellence Scheme will not apply to you. 

I’m from Regional Australia or I’ve Experienced Financial Difficulties

The Early Offer Year 12 Scheme, also known as E12, is one of the most comprehensive admission pathways that benefits many students looking to study at USYD.

If your studies were impacted by financial hardship, or you studied in a rural area with a population of less than 10 000 people and live 100km or more from the next town you are eligible for E12. As this is an admission pathway, the E12 scheme also provides you with a monetary scholarship, and further assistance throughout university, such as accommodation, and support. 

You are also eligible for E12 if you went to school that is classified as having an educational disadvantage. You can search up your school in the appropriate lists on this UAC site!

Further, if you have difficulty with English, have been diagnosed with an illness or disability, had to uphold increased family responsibilities, have previously held, or currently hold an Australian refugee visa, or had to move schools three or more times from Year 10 to Year 12, you can apply for E12. 

The E12 scheme will lower the ATAR requirement for your course, generally by around 5 marks, however this varies. Be sure to check this list of courses to ensure that it applies to the course you want to study. 

To apply, you must provide the necessary supporting documents required for your specific circumstance, alongside completing a form and a supporting statement from your school. 

I was School Captain or Dux

USYD Bonus Points and Adjustment Factors - School Captain

If you were school captain in high school, or achieved dux for your cohort, you are eligible for the Future Leaders Scheme! 

The Future Leaders Scheme at USYD lowers the ATAR cut-off for certain courses as a matter of acknowledging your achievement in leadership and/or academics. Generally speaking, the ATAR requirement is lowered by around 5 to 8 marks, however, it varies depending on the degree.

Search up your desired course here, to see how the Future Leaders Scheme can lower the admission rank!

Note, that to receive a lowered ATAR requirement for a particular course, you must place that specific course as your first preference in your UAC application. You may also need to provide a written letter from your school principal in the application, to verify that you were school captain or received dux. 

I’ve Been Disadvantaged Throughout Year 12

Similar to the E12 scheme in some cases, if you were disadvantaged throughout Year 12 in a way that impacted your ability to study you may be eligible for the Broadway Scheme at USYD. The Broadway Scheme is an Education Access Scheme (EAS) offered at the university. 

The Broadway Scheme provides adjustment factors by increasing your selection rank by adding points to your ATAR, or providing you with a position in the course that is held specifically for EAS students. 

To be eligible for the Broadway Scheme, as an EAS student, you need to have been impacted for at least 6 months during Year 11 and 12, whether it be areas of financial instability, moving schools more than 3 times between Year 10 and Year 12, illness or disability diagnosis, family responsibilities or a refugee visa, to name a few.

You can also search for your school in the relevant lists to see if you are eligible for the scheme due to the area you were schooled in. 

If you are eligible and want to apply for the Broadway Scheme, you need to submit an EAS application through UAC.

Note: If you want to study a double degree in the field of Medicine, the Broadway Scheme will not apply. 

I want to study Music, Design or Visual Arts

If you are looking to study in a more creative field, there are alternate pathways at USYD that involve either a portfolio or audition. 

If you want to study a degree in the field of Architecture, Design and Planning, you can complete a portfolio to lower the ATAR requirement by 5 points at most! In your portfolio you are expected to include some of your best work, a written statement on why you want to study a certain course and reference letter from someone that can support your application into the course. 

Check out what a USYD Architecture degree is like here!

If you are looking to study Music or Visual Arts at USYD, you can apply through the Creative Arts Special Admission Scheme (CASAS) which can give you the opportunity for an early offer. To study Music, you are required to complete an audition, whilst Visual Arts requires you to present a portfolio. 

I’m an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander student

If you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, you can apply for the Gadigal Program at USYD that will lower the ATAR requirement for your course. 

For this program, you must ensure that one or more courses at USYD are in your UAC preferences. This will also give you the opportunity for an early conditional offer, and provide you with support throughout your time at the university.

There is an application process for the Gadigal Program which can be done through UAC. This will provide you with the necessary form to complete. 

I Trained as an Athlete or Performer During the HSC

If you trained seriously as an athlete or performer throughout your HSC, you are eligible for adjustment factors that will either lower the ATAR requirement for certain courses or increase your selection rank. 

To be classified as an elite athlete, you must be in an activity recognised by Sport Australia, and must prove that your training has led to time away from studying and school.

You need to also provide supporting documents to show your participation in competitions or performances alongside your position at a training institution or academy, and relevant rankings. 

You can also apply for the Elite Athlete Program under Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness, that can support you throughout your degree if you continue to train as an athlete or performer. 

And that’s it!

As you can see, there are many ways in which students can be impacted throughout the HSC, and so adjustment factors/bonus points at USYD are designed to help you get into your dream course!

Hopefully you’ve found a pathway or scheme that you can apply for, or you could recommend to a friend that might be eligible. 


Nandini Dhir is a Content Writer at Art of Smart and is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Marketing) and a Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Media and Communications), as a Dalyell Scholar, at Sydney University. She enjoys covering local issues in her area and writing about current events in the media. Nandini has had one of her pieces published in an article with the Sydney Morning Herald. In her free time, Nandini loves doing calligraphy, ballet, and sewing, or is otherwise found coddling her cats.  

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