VCE graduates are expected to have unprecedented access to tertiary courses in 2013, with universities free to admit as many students as they like for the second successive year.
But scoring a place in the most prestigious courses will remain elusive for all but the highest-performing students.
The Age on Monday is publishing the Tertiary Entrance Guide 2012. Last year’s selection data has been included as a guide to the approximate Australian Tertiary Admission Rank required to be accepted into courses in 2013.
This year, 2893 VCE students chose arts at Melbourne University as their first choice, making it the most sought-after course. For 2011 VCE graduates, a score of 90.9 secured a first-round offer.
Medicine and surgery at Monash received the second-largest number of first preferences, with 2448 applicants, but the university typically only takes about 240 students.
Monash takes into account an aptitude test and an interview as well as the ATAR when assessing applicants.
Other universities, including Melbourne, allow students to study specialised areas such as law or medicine only after they have completed an undergraduate degree.
Three other Melbourne University courses – science, biomedicine and commerce – were among the five most sought-after courses this year.
More than 2230 students put science as their first preference. Last year students needed 90.15 to gain clear entry to the course.
Commerce had 1449 first preferences this year (the 2011 ATAR was 95.45) while biomedicine had 787 first preferences (the 2011 ATAR was 99).
This year the federal government abolished limits on the number of students that universities could enrol in order to encourage more Australians to complete degrees.
Deakin University Associate Professor of Education Damian Blake said an increase in students was likely to continue this year particularly in arts and education courses. ”That’s where the opportunities will start to open up,” he said.
But universities would tightly control the number of students in the most coveted courses.
Monash University offered 35 students a place to study undergraduate law at Clayton this year, with a clearly-in ATAR of 98.05. The course was the first choice of 359 students this year.
Double degrees in law at Monash were also popular, with 667 putting Arts/Law as their first preference this year. The course last year had a round-one clearly-in of 98.15 and 230 people were offered places.
A first-round ATAR of 94.4 was sufficient to study law at Deakin and 80.3 was enough to get into Victoria University’s law course.
Film and television at Swinburne’s soon to be closed Prahran campus required a score of 85.8 to gain one of 122 places. This year, 155 students made the course their first preference.
Between 2009 and 2012, the ATAR required to get into engineering at Monash dropped from 91.15 to 90.05, while the number of places jumped from 207 to 296. This year, 336 students chose engineering at Monash as their first preference for 2013.
Students who wanted to do first-year nursing at La Trobe University this year needed a score of 70.1 to be among the 284 offered a place.
An earlier version of this story suggested just 35 places were available in law at Monash’s Clayton campus. There are considerably more once double-degree offerings are taken into account.
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