ATARs, OPs and you

What is an ATAR?

ATAR stands for Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank and is calculated by the relevant states' Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC). It is based on your overall academic achievement in Year 12.

What is an OP/Rank?

The Overall Position (OP) is a tertiary entrance rank used in Queensland and is calculated by the Queensland Studies Authority. It is similar to an ATAR, however students are placed in one of 25 OP bands – where 1 is the highest.

What do they mean?

ATARs and OPs are ranks, not scores.

ATARs basically tell you what percentage of the Year 12 population you beat. So someone with an ATAR of 65 performed as well as or better than 65% of students in Australia.

OPs also simply show how well you performed in comparison to other Year 12 students.

Most university courses specify a minimum ATAR or OP a student will need in order to be considered for a place. This is called the course cut-off.

Does a low ATAR or high OP/Rank mean I won’t succeed at university?

Absolutely not. It is a rank only. It does not measure intelligence, personality, motivation or potential. Nor does it take into account your personal circumstances and background. We believe that what matters is how a student comes out of university, not how they go in. It’s all about what you learn while you’re here, and how you apply that knowledge.

Why has the ATAR or OP/Rank for my course risen/dropped since last year?

The cut-off for a course shows you the minimum ATAR or OP/Rank needed by the majority of Year 12 applicants when offers are made.  It is not a reflection of how difficult a course is, but reflects the supply and demand. The cut-offs are determined by:

  • the number of places available in the course
  • the number of applicants for the course
  • the quality of those applicants.

This means that cut-offs change from year to year. This year some of the entry cut-offs at ACU have dropped, and others have risen.

Is ACU the best place for me to study?

Yes! As well as all the wonderful lecturers, travel opportunities, and practical work experience on offer, ACU graduates are high in demand. In the most recent edition of The Good Universities Guide, we scored four out of five stars for success in getting a job, graduate starting salary and positive graduate outcomes. In addition, a whopping 95 per cent of our graduates are employed within four months of finishing their degree*.

* Graduate Destination Survey 2012