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Facts about Australian Universities

  • The University of Sydney is the oldest university in Australia. Founded in 1850, it now has an enrollment of 35,000 students.
  • There are a total of 50 Universities within Australia ranging in size and location. The smallest is University of Notre Dame in Fremantle and the largest is Monash University in Melbourne.
  • Most universities are funded by the Australian government and are relatively inexpensive for Australian citizens.
  • Within the fifty universities, there is a “group of eight” whose membership comprises the presidents or vice-chancellors of Adelaide University, The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, Monash University, The University of New South Wales, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, and The University of Western Australia. These universities are considered the leading universities within Australia because they “…are engaged in and committed to high-quality teaching, research and scholarship. The Group of Eight universities conduct 70% of all Australian university research and produce between 60% and 80% of internationally recognized Australian university research publications in every field of research.”

University applications

  • Because Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, their academic calendar is different from Asia, the North America and Europe. Most universities begin their academic year at the end of February or early March (first semester), have a semester break during June and/or July, and end the academic year in November or December.
  • Students can opt to apply for first semester entry after graduating from ISB. Or they can apply for second semester entry during the second semester of high school. Some courses will not be available however for second semester entry and there is a fast turn around time between being accepted and starting university in July/August. Most ISB students, opt for first semester entry and spend time after graduating working, traveling, etc. In essence, it is like a shortened gap year experience.
  • Application procedures vary with each university and depending on whether or not the student is applying as a domestic student or as an international student. Students must fully research requirements for each institution specific to their situation.
  • For Australian universities, the successful completion of an IB certificate program may be enough to gain entrance into the university, although various programs have specific IB scores that must be earned, and the IB Diploma is the most direct route to gain admission. The more competitive the university, the more likely they will require the IB Diploma.
  • Most universities require the SATs or ACTs be submitted if the student has earned a U.S. equivalent diploma (non IB Diploma).
  • Some universities require that students who have earned a U.S. equivalent diploma successfully complete the first year, foundation program, of a Bachelor degree at an approved university.
  • International students typically apply directly to the university. IB results will need to be sent directly from the IBO to the university.
  • Tertiary Admission Centers used by domestic students calculate standardized tertiary entrance ranks or the University Admissions Index used in the admissions process. These are not scores/grades but are rankings calculated out of 100 in increments of 0.05. Entry scores for Australian undergraduate courses are expressed as the Tertiary Entrance Ranks (TER). Different states call these ranks different names, for example in Victoria ENTER (Equivalent Tertiary Entrance Rank); NSW and ACT use UAI (Universities Admissions Index) and Queensland uses OP (Overall Position on a scale of 1-25). IB aggregate scores are equated to TER’s on a translation agreed to by state universities. ( The Tertiary Admissions Centers issue offers to successful applicants on behalf of the universities in January for first semester intake. Students only receive one offer—for the course listed highest in their preferences for which they have met the entry requirements.

Tertiary Admission centres

Australian students (living in Australia or abroad) apply through the state-based Tertiary Admissions Centers for semester one admissions. These Centers manage and promote the application procedure, receive and process applications for most university courses within their state, and inform applicants of outcomes. Each university is responsible for the selection of its own students.