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Studying at Top Australian Universities

Making the choice to study abroad is a significant decision in a student’s life. A number of international students, especially those from India, pick Australia as their study destination because of the country’s top colleges, job prospects, immigration opportunities, cultural diversity, stunning natural surroundings, energetic towns, and the vast oceans.

Australia is home to some of the top ranked universities in the world, and an attractive destination for students to explore. It is among the few countries with dedicated student centers which assist international students with any matter relating to their legal rights, obtaining employment, networking, finding housing, etc.

Australia is home to a total of 36 universities out of which the top eight, also known as the Group of Eight (Go8) are highly regarded around the world. These include, the Australian National University (ANU), the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, the University of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide, Monash University, and UNSW Sydney. Education in Australia focuses on problem-based learning and helps students become independent learners.


With a vast range of universities and courses to choose from in Australia, the application process for an international applicant can be a little cumbersome. International students apply through either of the following ways:

  • Applying directly through the university website Australian universities have an online application form to be submitted which is available directly on the respective university’s website
  • Applying through a common portal, Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) Australian domestic students apply using the UAC admission portal, but students from the International Baccalaureate (IB) board, irrespective of being international students, can also submit their application using it.

A student can apply to up to 5 institutions using UAC. It houses 18 institutions that are majorly located in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). Most Australian universities admit international students twice a year and follow a two semester a year pattern. But some universities admit students in a three semester a year pattern. There are two major admission intakes in Australia- July and February, but a few Australian universities offer September intake also. Only 4 universities offer this intake – Bond University, University of Adelaide, University of Newcastle, and University of New South Wales Sydney (UNSW).

The September intake is one of the most sought-after by Indian students, as they complete their Grade XII by the end of June. The September intake gives them the option of starting their college education without losing months, something the February and July intake don’t provide.
Since students are at the liberty to choose which intake they prefer, there are a few parameters to be considered, whether the course of their choice is available in that particular intake, internships/career opportunity post completing the degree, course fee, part-time jobs, etc.

Australia gives both an unconditional and conditional admission offer to its applicants. Unconditional offers are given to the students who have completed all the formalities and requirements stated by the university at the time of application. Whereas the conditional offer is given if a student has failed to provide any specific information, or paperwork that is pending, therefore giving the student an opportunity to submit the needful later. But in case of unavailability of the expected document/information, the university can revoke the admission decision.

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General requirements in the college application form are, academic requirements, personal details, course selection, English language proficiency proof, and a personal statement. Students with at least 65% in their grade XII can apply. For the students applying to competitive courses like the STEM, the Advanced Placement (AP) tests are not a mandatory requirement but can provide an advantage in the admissions process.

Australian universities accept both TOEFL and IELTS. Most universities demand a band of 7 in each section of IELTS, though there are some that accept a 6.5 overall score too. For TOEFL, an average of 90 is considered acceptable, or any score above 85. Some universities have optional essay questions. They may also require a student to explain why they want to study the course they have applied to and how they can add to the value of the university.

Personal Statement is another crucial aspect of admission in Australian universities, since it covers information about extracurriculars, personal projects, leadership work, etc. Letters of recommendation aren’t mandatory for undergraduate admission, but some universities can require one academic LOR depending upon the choice of course.

Statement of Purpose (SOP) – It is a crucial part of the application in which students describe their interest in the chosen field of study, their activities and their future plans. Especially in competitive courses like STEM where several students may be competing for admissions to limited seats, the SOP provides valuable insights into the students’ thought process and motivations. While evaluating good students with strong academic performance and comparative GPA, the SOP provides a good way to differentiate between them.

It needs to be unique, explaining their experiences, aspirations, motivation for studying a particular course and a short narrative of their lives beyond academics. SOP for Australian universities are majorly focused on the field of study. The students need to show enthusiasm in their chosen course and how they can make a revolutionary transformation in that subject/area.

Extracurriculars – Australian Universities are not very demanding about extra-curricular activities, but these may be considered a plus on your application. Some universities like the Australian National University (ANU) specifically ask for the extra-curricular activities. It is important for students to participate in relevant activities linked to their area of study. These experiences are extremely valuable while writing the statement of purpose.
E.g., For students seeking admissions to art and design courses, activities like creating an art portfolio or working at an art gallery can strengthen your application substantially.

Sometimes a student may not be admitted to the university or course of their choice. This may be because the university did not find their overall application (academic performance, activities and SOP) compelling. However, the university may offer the student admission to a year-long foundation course called ‘Bridget Study’ to upscale their knowledge. Upon successfully completing the Bridget Study, students may enroll at the first year of college.

Certificate of award or scholarship is another requirement as per the application process which a student has to provide once they accept the admission offer. After the student has accepted admission to a university, they will receive an electronic Confirmation of Enrollment (CoE) that will make the student eligible to study a course in Australia and apply for the student visa. Proof of funds, health cover/insurance (OSHC – Overseas Student Health Cover) and the online CoE code helps students to apply for visas easily – an important part of the Australian student visa process.


Australian universities provide Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or selection rank as one of the admission criteria, but it is limited to the Australian high school education system and International Baccalaureate (IB) board students. Irrespective of being an international student, IB board students are evaluated and given an ATAR rank. It is a selection mechanism that measures a student’s overall academic performance and achievements in relation to that of other applicants.

Eligibility for an ATAR requires completion of at least four subjects, the aggregate may be based on fewer subjects: for example, English Advanced, English Extension 1 and Extension 2, Mathematics Extension 1 and Extension 2, and one other 2-unit course. Applicants must still satisfactorily complete at least four subjects to be eligible for an ATAR.

For the international students, the overall evaluation is done based on their grade XII final marks, a compelling statement of purpose, IELTS/TOEFL score, and any additional information the student may have provided like, mention of extracurricular activities, sharing AP tests results to increase their chances of admission in a challenging course, etc.

Therefore, applying to Australian schools is relatively straightforward, although it is advised that students should always begin the process as early as possible. Delaying could impact their chances of getting accepted, especially if they’re applying for a competitive program. Plus, completing the application before the deadline means the students will have enough time to deal with any additional requirements that may arise.

Deadlines for Application

February Intake October – November (previous year) Students who have completed grade XII and have the result can apply
July Intake March – April Students who have completed grade XII and have the result can apply
September Intake April – May Students currently in grade XII can also apply.

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Australia offers international students with quality education, expert faculty, and a wide array of courses to huge research and career opportunities. And fulfilling the financial requirements can sometimes act as a setback for some students. The average tuition fee for studying in Australia is 25-30K USD per annum, and the cost of living for international students can be around 15-17K USD per annum.

The Australian government, corporations, universities, and some private organizations provide financial assistance to international students on the following basis: merit-based, need-based, student-specific or course-specific grants. The amount of scholarship differs depending on the profile ranging from $ 2,000 up to 100% waiver

Following is the list of the most widely known scholarships for international students to study in Australia:

ANU Chancellor’s It is a merit-based scholarship which 15 December 2022*
International Scholarship is divided into 12 categories.
Students must have received an admission offer from ANU.
It grants a 25% fee waiver for the entire degree.
Bond Univ. International UG Excellence Scholarship Must score a min of 96 in the ATAR evaluation, or equivalent.
Students must give outstanding evidence of leadership and community achievements.
It remits 50% of the complete tuition fee.
Rolling application for all the 3 intakes.
But must apply at least 3 weeks prior to the start of term.
James Cook Univ. Vice Chancellor’s International Student Scholarship Application to this scholarship is by invitation only.
Must have an unconditional admission offer from JCU.
Should have scored at least 85% weighted average mark (WAM).
The waiver will vary between 50% to a 100%
6 December 2022 to 3 January 2023*
La Trobe University’s Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship
(for India & Sri Lanka only)
Applicants are examined on academic and extracurricular achievements.
Have at least 80% WAM.
Meet all the conditions as per the received offer letter before the deadline.
It grants a full 100% waiver on annual tuition fee.
22 August 2022*
Univ. of Canberra’s Vice Chancellor’s Social Champion Scholarship Must meet at least 80% of the program’s academic requirement at Bruce campus.
Only if the student is in need of a financial aid.
It covers up to $ 50000.
Must hold an admission letter from the Univ. of Canberra.
1 April 2022 to 9 October 2022*

*Similar deadlines will be announced for the coming year(s).

Australia offers a larger number of student’s scholarships compared to other geographies. It is a growing economy with a healthy growth rate. This is one of the main reasons why it has become one of the most popular study-abroad destinations and a hub of professional studies.
All types of organizations, from start-ups to world-renowned recruiters, are eager to collaborate with graduates from Australian universities. It is safe to say that the future in Australia holds great value and can provide equally successful opportunities to the freshly graduates.


About the Author: 

Ankita is an Admissions Specialist & Editor at Scholarly, and has 4 years of experience in study abroad. She has a Masters degree in English Literature from University of Delhi. Ankita is an ardent reader who enjoys fiction and composes personal poetry. Her interests lie in learning more about the ancient history of the world and how she can pen down the experiences she gains in her life as articles.

Scholarly helps ambitious international students locate the right universities and courses to pursue their education. We provide college credit courses and research papers to students that want to learn more and differentiate themselves. We help students develop and present their best version to their dream university. Our recommendations are based on the student’s field of interest, academic performance, financial resources and career plans. We provide test preparation classes from the best teachers to help improve scores and thus the prospects for admission. We also assist students with their visa and loan applications to reduce the anxiety associated with international education.

For additional questions about international education, choice of majors, university selection or admission strategies please visit the Questions section of our website.

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