HSC students will get their HSC results next week.
HSC students will get their HSC results next week. Samantha Poate

How to get HSC and ATAR results: What it means for students

MORE than 55,000 NSW HSC students will be able to access their HSC results and Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) later this week.

HSC results will be released to students on Thursday via SMS and email, and will be available at Students Online.

Hard copies of the certificate will be sent in the mail in January the following year.

The HSC Results Inquiry Centre also opens on Thursday.

ATARs will be available for students from 9am on Friday December 15. The ATAR is the rank used by universities to select school leavers for entry into university courses.

Students can access their ATAR on the My UAC mobile app or on UAC's website at uac.edu.au. They will need their Year 12 student number (or UAC application number) and their UAC PIN to access their ATAR, so students should make sure they have those numbers ready.

Students will then be able to download their ATAR Advice Notices from 10am on that day.

Students with questions about their ATAR can call UAC's ATAR Enquiry Centre on 1300 MY ATAR (1300 692 827), (02) 9119 5012 from mobiles, or +61 2 9119 5012 from overseas, on the following days:

. Friday 15 December, 8.30am-6.30pm

. Monday 18 December, 8.30am-6.30pm

. Tuesday 19 December, 8.30am-4.30pm

. Wednesday 20 December, 8.30am-4.30pm

. Thursday 21 December, 8.30am-4.30pm

Students can change their preferences for the December Round 2 offers until midnight on Sunday December 17. December Round 2 offers are released at 7.30am on Thursday December 21.

For those who haven't applied, it's not too late - applications for university study in first semester 2018 are open until Friday February 10 - and you can still change your preferences.

For more information about the ATAR and applying to university in 2018, visit uac.edu.au.

What is the ATAR and how do cut-offs and bonus points work?

THE ATAR is a rank that measures a student's overall academic achievement in the NSW HSC in relation to that of other students. Because the ATAR is a rank, it allows the comparison of students who have completed different combinations of HSC courses. Tertiary institutions need to rank students because often there are more applicants for courses than there are places available.

Tertiary study success depends on many factors, including personal attributes such as ability and motivation, but an achievement measure like the ATAR has been found to be the best single predictor of success.

What is the relationship between the HSC and the ATAR?

The HSC and the ATAR have quite separate functions even though they are both based on the same course results.

The HSC is:

  •  a set of results that provides a profile of achievements across a range of HSC courses
  •  an exit certificate that marks the end of 13 years of schooling
  •  the gateway to further study and employment
  •  awarded and released by BOSTES.

The ATAR is:

  •  a rank which provides a measure of overall academic achievement in the HSC in comparison to other students
  •  used by institutions to rank and select applicants in an equitable way
  •  based on scaled marks, not HSC marks
  •  calculated by the institutions for all eligible candidates and released by UAC.

While the ATAR may be the best single predictor of academic success, institutions acknowledge that there are other selection criteria which are relevant to certain courses. Institutions may base their selection of students on an interview, audition, portfolio, questionnaire or test. Sometimes these selection criteria are used on their own and sometimes in conjunction with the ATAR.

Bonus points don't change the ATAR; bonus points change a student's selection rank for a particular course that has been listed as a preference. If a student is allocated bonus points, that student may receive an offer to a course even though their ATAR is below the published cut-off.

Bonus points are awarded for various things, such as performance in relevant HSC subjects, living or attending school in an area defined by the institutions, and consideration through Educational Access Schemes. Bonus point schemes are different for each institution and often for each course at the same institution. This means that a student's selection rank can be different for each course listed in their course preferences. For Year 12 students who have bonus points, their selection rank for each preference = ATAR + bonus points.

The cut-off is the lowest rank (including any bonus points) required for entry into a particular course.

If your ATAR isn't as high as you expected, you may need to think about alternative pathways to further study. There are plenty of courses that don't require an ATAR for entry. Talk to the institutions - most have hotlines and special advisory days in January.

And finally, choose courses that you really want to do.

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