What to do if you didn’t get the ATAR you wanted
If you’re unhappy with your ATAR don’t freak out and assume you’ll never get into university. There are many different ways to get into Macquarie University and a large number of our very successful students come to us through non-traditional routes. What’s important is that you end up where you want to be and at Macquarie there’s a whole heap of options to get there.
NOTE: Please see the most recent article “Not the ATAR You Wanted?” for the most up to date Macquarie pathways.
If you don’t have the ATAR for your preferred degree you can enrol in a Macquarie degree with a lower ATAR and transfer later on. This is known as an Internal Transfer and nowhere is it as easy as here! At Macquarie, you can transfer between entirely different degree areas (for example from a Bachelor of Commerce to a Bachelor of Health). Generally you only need to complete a semester’s worth of subjects and obtain somewhere between a pass and a credit average, although criteria varies between individual degrees. If you choose this option it’s a good idea to start in a course that is related to your desired degree. For example, you could start in a Bachelor of Science (last year’s ATAR cutoff was 75.15) and later transfer into a Bachelor of Science – Psychology (last year’s ATAR cutoff was 83.00). I used this method after my first year at Macquarie and it really is as simple as it sounds.
Non-award study is another common choice for recent high school leavers. This program allows students to study individual units without enrolling in a full degree. Once a student successfully completes 4 subjects and receives an average Pass mark or higher they are guaranteed a place in a Macquarie Bachelor degree program. In addition, the completed non-award units count towards the full degree. What’s even better is that once a non-award student is accepted into a degree they are indistinguishable from all other students and have access to all of Macquarie’s facilities. The only restrictions are that this pathway requires a minimum ATAR of 50 and fees are paid upfront.
Another main alternate pathway for students wishing to study at Macquarie University is to enter via the Sydney Institute of Business and Technology (SIBT). In this program students undertake the first year units of their preferred degree with SIBT instead of Macquarie. They’re taught on Macquarie University’s campus, by Macquarie University approved staff and do identical units to students in the full degree program. The difference is that SIBT has smaller class sizes and more support from staff to help students succeed. SIBT students also have full access to Macquarie facilities like the library, gym, food court and shops. If students achieve a GPA of 1.5 (slightly below a pass average) after one year they can usually transfer directly into the second year of the full Macquarie Degree. A minimum ATAR of 60 applies in order to study through SIBT.
Even More Options
Some other common pathways include starting a degree in second semester when less students apply or studying a Diploma of Languages and later transferring into a Bachelor of Arts after completing the required amount of units with a GPA of 2.0. This pathway is open to all applicants and has no admission criteria. Macquarie University has more entry options than almost any other university in Australia and these are just a sample of the more popular ones. Other pathways include Open Universities Australia, Mature Age Entry, Distance Education, the STAT Test and transferring from another university or TAFE. To see the most recent Macquarie pathways please see the article “Not the ATAR You Wanted?”
Macquarie tries to have a range of pathways into university in order to give all sorts of different people the opportunity to study something they’re interested in. University isn’t just for people who can study really hard or remember a lot of facts, it has something for everyone. If you’re still disappointed with your ATAR just remember that after a few years no one cares what your score was or how you got into university. After three years at Macquarie I can honestly say that no one has ever asked me about my HSC marks. None of that will matter, but what’s important is that you’re doing something rewarding and are hopefully learning about something you love.