Don’t understand how UAC offers work? Don’t worry, neither did I.
That’s why I accepted the first offer that I got.
It’s not that I regret accepting it – I got into law school either way – but I could have had a lot more options if I had played the UAC offers game.
So let’s find out how UAC offers work and how you can use them to your advantage!
What is a UAC offer?
An ‘offer’ is when a university will present to you an opportunity for a place in a course for you to accept. Most institutions deliver offers through UAC – the University Admissions Centre.
When are UAC offers released?
Offers are released through a set of ’rounds’ starting in mid-September of that HSC Year and ending in July the following year.
Some institutions have programs called ‘early round offers’ where offers into a university course are offered before ATARs are released.
The most important round you need to consider are the December 2018 and January 2019 offers on Thursday 20th December, Friday 11th January and Friday 25th January but you can find all the offer dates here.
How are UAC offers released?
In selecting your preferences for a tertiary institution, you should have your UAC Application Number and PIN for the UAC website.
UAC will also send you an email advising you that you can view your offer online.
How do I accept or reject a UAC offer?
You will only receive one offer per round. That offer will be for your highest preference for which you have qualified. You do not need to accept this offer if you don’t want to.
Accepting your offer doesn’t stop you from being considered in later rounds unless it remains your first preference during a later offer.
This means that if you’ve received an offer for your first preference, you will not be offered anything for your lower preferences unless you change your preferences.
What does this mean? It means that you need can stock up on offers for ‘offers shopping’.
However, be sure to check the requirements of each individual institution: some may have a set date when they need to you to accept the offer!
How do UAC offers work?
In order for you to understand how to go ‘offers shopping’ (which we will explore next), let’s have a look at how UAC offers places to you.
Let’s say that the Bachelor of Wizarding at Hogwarts University has an ATAR cut-off of 75, and only has four places on offer, and that early round offers have occurred, so some students will already have offers.
Here’s what this might look like in practice:
The course has four places available and so the top four – Hermione, Ron, Harry and Ginny – have all been offered places.
However, Ron and Hermione already have offers from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang, and intend to take up those places but have gone ‘offers shopping’ to generate more than one offer across the different rounds.
I think we all know Hermione helped Ron work out his UAC offers, which worked out well for them both!
Hermione and Ron decide to accept their offers to Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. This means that two places free up like so:
As you can see, Draco and Neville both have ATARs below the required cut-off, but still received an offer in this round! So whether you receive an offer or not depends on who else is given an offer and who accepts their offers.
However, less places will be available as more people accept their offers, or keep them open as they get more offers.
How can you go ‘offers shopping’?
‘Offers shopping’ is when you generate more than one offer from universities for you to pick from. As you can only receive one offer per round, and you will only be offered your top preference each round if you qualify, you can effectively accumulate offers to choose from.
Let’s have a look at how you can do this. For this purpose, let’s say you wanted to study law and some kind of science, and you receive an ATAR of 98.6. Most teachers will tell you to put your dream course first; even if you’re not offered it, what you place after that will most likely be something you also will want to study. For this exercise, your dream course is B Psychological Science/B Laws at UNSW.
This is what your preference list looks like, with B Psychological Science/B Laws at UNSW as your first preference.
Because you attained a 98.1, this is what your offer would look like:
If your heart is still set on B Psychological Science/B Laws at UNSW, you may be able to get an offer with ‘offer shopping, because you do not need to reject the offer from UTS, you simply move it down in your preferences.
Why is B Science B Laws at UTS now down the bottom?
Now that you’ve been offered it in the first round, you can move it to the bottom so that others your other preferences might be considered (but you can still accept the offer if you decide to later on).
Realistically, not everyone accepts their first offer, and so places may open up for people with a lower ATAR.
So, then, hypothetically this could happen in the next UAC offers round!
Now you have a second offer from USYD as well as your first offer from UTS. Also, notice that your second offer has an ATAR cut off which is higher than the ATAR you received!
Again, remember you really want to get into B Psychological Science/B Laws at UNSW, and people might reject their offers for February Round 1, again opening more space.
So, what could February Round 2 possibly look like?
And there you go! An offer for your dream course! You can go ahead and accept it!
Remember this is all only hypothetical, intended to show you how you could make the most of your UAC offers.
This does not mean ‘offer shopping’ guarantees you a place in your dream course, and you should have a really good think about whether you want to offer shop before you do so!
Wondering about other pathways to get into university? Find out all about it in Part 6!
Need more help or have questions to ask about UAC Offers?
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Elizabeth Goh isn’t a fan of writing about herself in third person, even if she loves writing. Elizabeth decided she didn’t get enough English, History or Legal Studies at Abbotsleigh School for her own HSC in 2010 so she came back to help others survive it with Art of Smart Education. She’s since done a mish-mash of things with her life which includes studying a Bachelor of Arts (Politics and International Relations) with a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University, working for NSW Parliament, and snuggling up in cafes for hours on end with her new favourite book.