Studying at UNSW - it's about more than your ATAR

We want to attract the best and brightest students who are passionate about their chosen area of study with plenty to offer the UNSW community. We know your ATAR isn't the only measure of your potential so we have a number of programs and schemes to help domestic students gain access to study at UNSW.

What are adjustment factors?

Application to UNSW is based on your Selection Rank, which is your raw ATAR plus any additional adjustment factors you may be eligible for. Our adjustment factor schemes are designed to recognise the range of backgrounds and circumstances of our students and take these into consideration when assessing your application. They also help us recognise your unique skills and talents.

There are adjustment factor schemes based on your performance in the subjects you studied, your achievements outside the classroom and your personal circumstances. 

It's important to note some adjustment factors will be applied automatically while others require you to apply directly to UNSW or the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC). 

You can gain up to 12 points across our range of adjustment factors schemes to use towards your UNSW admission, including:

  • HSC Plus
  • Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders (EAPL)
  • ACCESS Scheme (Educational Access Scheme)

Get a boost with HSC Plus

HSC Plus is designed to reward strong performance in Australian Senior Secondary Certificate (Year 12) subjects relevant to UNSW undergraduate degrees.

If you're applying from Interstate or completing the International Baccalaureate, you'll need to convert your Year 12 courses and results to NSW HSC equivalents before using the HSC Plus calculator. You can find the comparisons on UAC’s website for Interstate Qualifications and the International Baccalaureate

Calculate how many HSC Plus points you might be eligible for with our HSC Plus Calculator.

For domestic students who complete an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate

Maximum of 5 points

Applied automatically - no application needed

  • To be eligible for points under HSC Plus you must:

    • Be a domestic student (i.e. an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen)
    • Complete an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate (Year 12) or the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in the year prior to admission* to UNSW and receive an ATAR or equivalent
    • Achieve the required performance bands in relevant final senior secondary subjects
    • Not have a record of study at university

    If you complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) in the year prior to admission* you may also be eligible. To be considered, you must be eligible for the award of the IB Diploma.

    *Applicants who completed the above qualifications in 2021 and took a gap year in 2022 are also eligible for HSC Plus for admission in 2023. 

  • Applicants will be awarded a maximum of 5 points for each UNSW preference. The number of points awarded and the Year 12 subjects considered are specific to individual undergraduate degrees. This means that if you apply for a range of degrees at UNSW you may have a different selection rank for each preference depending on the Year 12 subjects you have completed.

    If you're studying an interstate senior secondary qualification or the International Baccalaureate (IB), you can use UAC’s Year 12 Qualifications website in conjunction with the UNSW HSC Plus Calculator as an indicative guide to equivalent subjects and how many adjustment factors you may be eligible for.

  • The following programs are NOT included in HSC Plus:

    • Actuarial Studies (Co-op)
    • Commerce (Co-op)
    • Commerce (Co-op) (Honours)
    • Double Law
    • Information Systems (Co-op) (Honours)
    • Medicine
    • Vision Science
    • Vision Science/Clinical Optometry
    • Psychological Science
    • Psychology (Honours)

    All other UNSW undergraduate degrees are included.

  • No separate application is required for HSC Plus.Domestic applicants completing an Australian Senior Secondary Qualification or the International Baccalaureate (IB) will automatically be considered for HSC Plus as part of their Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) application. Check out Apply through UAC for more information.

    If you have a preference for a UNSW degree included in HSC Plus AND your performance in the required Year 12 subject/s is in the specified band, adjustment factors will be automatically added to your ATAR (or equivalent) to increase your selection rank for that UAC preference.

Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders (EAPL) Program

The Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders (EAPL) Program considers both academic and elite extra-curricular achievements and recognises these by awarding adjustment factors.

Through the EAPL Program you may be eligible for up to five adjustment factor points towards your UNSW admission for excellence in sport, academic, leadership, and/or music at an elite level. Activities must have been undertaken in Years 11 and/or 12. 

To be considered for EAPL adjustment factors you must:

  • Be either an Australian citizen, New Zealand citizen or hold a current Australian Permanent Resident or Humanitarian visa; and
  • Complete an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate (Year 12)* or an equivalent overseas secondary qualification and receive an ATAR or equivalent; and
  • Have not completed more than or equal to 0.75 FTE of study at a university or TAFE Diploma or above; and
  • Provide sufficient supporting documentation with your application to successfully demonstrate that your studies in year 11 and/or 12 have been affected by your sporting, academic, music and/or leadership commitments.

Applications for the EAPL Program open in August each year and close on the 30 November.

**Applicants who completed the above qualifications in 2021 and took a gap year in 2022 are also eligible for EAPL adjustment factors for admission in 2023. An application must be submitted in the year prior to admission.

Recognises both academic and extra-curricular achievements

Maximum of 5 points

2023 EAPL Applications Now Open - Apply Here

Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders - Support Program

The Elite Athletes, Performers and Leaders Support Program provides eligible current students with the necessary support to successfully integrate their academic life with their external pursuits in the form of enrolment flexibility, cross-institutional study options and leave of absence for travel commitments.

For more information on the support available, please see the elite athletes support program website.

ACCESS Scheme (EAS)

UNSW is committed to promoting equality in accessing tertiary education. The ACCESS Scheme is part of this commitment and is provided for students embarking on university study who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage.

The ACCESS Scheme allows UNSW to take the circumstances of individual applicants into account when allocating places in undergraduate programs.

COVID-19 Disaster Payments added to financial hardship category

Applicants can now claim financial hardship if a parent or guardian has received COVID-19 Disaster Payments for at least three months. This is in addition to the existing provisions for applicants whose parent or guardian has received JobSeeker payments.

Designed for students who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage

Maximum of 10 points

Apply via the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC)

  • To be eligible to apply for consideration under the ACCESS Scheme you must:

    • be an Australian or New Zealand citizen, or a permanent resident of Australia (or holder a permanent humanitarian visa) AND
    • your Year 11 and/or Year 12 studies (or equivalent) have been affected by circumstances beyond your control
    • achieve an ATAR or equivalent
    • not be currently enrolled in or have previously undertaken university, TAFE, college or other tertiary level studies either here or overseas (tertiary being defined as Diploma level or above). If you've undertaken tertiary studies you may be eligible for consideration under UNSW's Special Consideration for Applicants with Tertiary Studies (SCATS)

    You're not eligible to apply for consideration under the ACCESS Scheme if:

    • you're an international fee-paying student
    • you're an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and are applying for entry through the UNSW Indigenous Admission Scheme
  • The range of circumstances considered under ACCESS includes:

    • Disrupted schooling
    • Financial hardship
    • Severe family disruption
    • Excessive family responsibilities
    • English language difficulties
    • Disability or long-term personal illness/medical condition
    • Refugee status
    • Attendance at a rural high school
    • Low Socio-economic indexes for areas (SEIFA)*

    * 1 to 25% of socio-economic (AG01)

    If the residential address you entered in your UAC undergraduate application is identified by the Australian Bureau of Statistics as being in the lowest 25% of socio-economic advantage in Australia, UAC will automatically generate an electronic EAS application for you. If an EAS application is automatically generated for you, UAC will notify you by email the day after you complete your application for undergraduate admission.

    If you want to claim additional types of disadvantages such as financial hardship or illness you must lodge an EAS application which you can learn more about below.

    If you are identified by UAC as having an address in the lowest 25% of socio-economic advantage in Australia, consider also applying for the Gateway Admission Pathway, an early conditional offer scheme with a significantly reduced ATAR requirement.

  • To apply for UNSW’s ACCESS Scheme you'll need to lodge an Educational Access Schemes (EAS) application and your circumstances will be assessed centrally at UAC based on guidelines agreed to by all UAC participating institutions. UNSW uses the centralised EAS assessment to award successful ACCESS applicants EAS points to their Selection Rank. 

    This means that if you’re eligible for the ACCESS Scheme your Selection Rank is increased, and you compete with all other applicants for a place in the course. The allocation of EAS points does not guarantee entry to UNSW or to your preferred course, you must meet the Lowest Selection Rank for the course you are applying to and this must be your highest eligible preference in the respective UAC offer round for you to receive an offer for admission.

    UAC will send you an Eligibility letter to advise of your eligibility for EAS consideration at all UAC participating institutions. You can learn more in UAC's EAS Booklet. If you’re eligible for UNSW's ACCESS Scheme you can receive up to ten EAS points depending on the degree of educational disadvantage you have experienced.

  • If you'd like to apply for consideration under the ACCESS Scheme you need to lodge two applications with the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

    1. UAC Undergraduate - admission to university application

    Apply for university entry through UAC. See the UAC website for details.

    2. UAC Educational Access Schemes (EAS) application

    Complete one common application form for Educational Access Schemes (EAS) at all UAC participating universities. Booklets containing an EAS application form are available from Careers Advisers at your school or from UAC. There is no charge for lodging an EAS application.

    Ensure your EAS application is submitted well before the relevant UAC offer rounds to make sure your application is assessed and is considered for admission to UNSW.

    Refer to UAC EAS Key dates to confirm application closing dates.

Want more info?

Looking for guidance on which adjustment factor schemes you could be eligible for? Speak to one of our Future Student Advisors.