The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) is the primary criterion for entry into most undergraduate-entry university programs in Australia, gradually introduced during 2009 and 2010 to replace the Universities Admission Index, Equivalent National Tertiary Entrance Rank and Tertiary Entrance Rank. The ATAR is awarded to students on the completion Year 12 in all Australian states except Queensland. The number functions as a rank of all students entering the tertiary education system, based on the number of students in Year 7. The maximum rank attainable is 99.95.
Introduction of ATAR
During June 2009, the Federal Minister for Education announced the removal of UAI and the introduction of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, or ATAR, for Year 12 students of 2009 within the ACT and NSW, and for the rest of the country excluding Queensland in 2010. The ATAR was introduced as an attempt to unify the university entrance system in Australia, where previously each state had its own individual system (e.g. UAI in ACT/NSW, TER in SA/NT/WA, ENTER in Victoria).
Changes from UAI
The shift to ATAR means that the ranks most students receiving a UAI would increase by a small amount (although this would not present as any advantage as cutoffs would subsequently increase), while the maximum rank in NSW/ACT would change from a UAI of 100 to an ATAR of 99.95. Queensland will not shift to the ATAR system because it uses a completely separate system and ranking scale, the Overall Position.
The ATAR follows the same principles as is predecessors. The rank gives an indication to the overall position of the student in relation to the student body for that year across the state. A higher ATAR gives preference to that student for the course to which they wish to enrol in a university of their choice. The ATAR is used by: the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory; the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC) in South Australia and the Northern Territory; Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) in Victoria; and Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) in Western Australia. These bodies then allocate positions for the tertiary institutions in their relevant states.