ANU announces major changes to student admissions for 2020


The Australian National University (ANU) has announced significant changes to the way it will admit undergraduate students to its courses from 2020.

Under the changes, ATAR scores will be only one application criteria. ANU will also consider a student’s all round character including community engagement and leadership, sport or volunteering activities and part-time work.

The changes will simplify the processes for new students with a single application process to cover admissions, accommodation and scholarships, while providing more certainty with earlier offers and transparency over ATAR cut offs.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said ANU will guarantee places to the top students from across Australia who demonstrate the required academic aptitude and community spirit.

“As Australia’s national university we have a responsibility and a mandate to educate students from across Australia who have the capacity and ambition to succeed,” Professor Schmidt said.

“I want every Australian student, from Broome, to Bourke, to Burnie, to know ANU is their national university. We are a university for anyone who wants to study at one of the best universities in the world, and alongside the best and brightest in the country.

“We know students are more than just a score. We know they are passionate, we know they have unique skills, we know they gain experience through community service, volunteering, working part time, participating in school leadership, excelling in sports, gaming, performance, competitions and more.

“We also know that sometimes life pans out a bit differently for some students. Some students have to work to support themselves, or care for their family or face other challenges. These are all important life skills and we will consider these factors alongside their ATAR marks.”

“We’ve drawn on admissions research from Australia and around the world to develop a new model for undergraduate university admissions to reach these talented young students.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie Hughes Warrington said the changes would be applicable to school students in year 11 in 2018 who are planning to start university study in 2020.

The changes include:

  • Incorporation of unique skills, such as community service, volunteering, working part time, caring for their families, school leadership, excelling in sports, gaming, performance, competitions, alongside ATAR scores;
  • Greater certainty for students by providing early offers to programs, scholarship and accommodation;
  • An easier single application process to cover admissions, accommodation and scholarships;
  • A continued commitment to transparency by publishing ATAR cut-offs and full student requirements for entry to courses; and
  • Places for the top students from schools around the country who have the marks and ambition to succeed.

Professor Hughes-Warrington said the new system would make it easier for school leavers who often face a maze of application forms and often don’t know what they will be studying or where they will be living until the last minute.

“From next year, under our new model, year 12 students will be able to apply to ANU in March. We will make provisional offers to students in August, on the condition that they meet the subject entry requirements after their final exams.

“That means students will know they have a place at ANU much earlier, and they can start planning for their life at University.”

Professor Hughes-Warrington said ANU also wanted to know more about prospective students, and understand skills they have learned outside the classroom.

She said the under the new admissions model, school leavers will need to demonstrate their co-curricular or service skills. Applicants will be recognised for a range for skills, ranging from communication, to personal responsibility, teamwork, inclusiveness and critical thinking.

Professor Hughes-Warrington will conduct a series of public seminars across Australia on the new admissions system.

Full information is available on the ANU Admissions website at


Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
The Australian National University
Contact: Jo Meehan, ANU Media 0436 605 635

About The Australian National University

ANU is a world-leading university in Australia’s capital city, Canberra. Our location points to our unique history, ties to the Australian Government and special standing as a resource for the Australian people.

Our focus on research as an asset, and an approach to education, ensures our graduates are in demand the world-over for their abilities to understand, and apply vision and creativity to addressing complex contemporary challenges.

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