ATAR 2021 – What We Must Learn NOW From 2020

ATAR 2021 – What We Must Learn NOW From 2020

After the crazy year that was 2020, Year 12s across the country woke in December to ATAR scores that were lower than what they might have expected in 2019. The offers they received from universities were also different, with more students with lower ATARs being accepted, and an increase in the number of students deferring their place. How this changes the way students approach the ATAR system or how tutors can help students to approach it is something we’ll have to learn together. One thing is for sure, 2020 can definitely be a valuable learning experience for ATAR 2021, and A Team Tuition is here to help.  

ATAR 2021

What do the numbers tell us?

After an extremely disruptive school year, Year 12 school leavers finished 2020 with ATAR scores and university offers that were a little different to previous years. 167,438 applicants accepted an offer from a university in 2020, which is a decrease of 3.9 % when compared to the previous year. Of the applications who received offers in 2020, 18,691 applications, or 11.2%, deferred their offer, which is higher than the deferral rate of 10.2% in 2019. It seems students were less likely to want to spend the next year back at school – is this something we could attribute to the severe disruption COVID had on the school year, or is it just teething issues with ATAR in states like Queensland? Do we need to re-think the way we approach the ATAR system, or could we look at how the past year has developed our children’s resilience and the way they adapt to change? 

According to the Undergraduate Applications, Offers, and Acceptances document written by the Department of Education, students’ areas of interest changed in 2020 as well. The most popular broad field of education in 2020 based on the number of applicants was health; there were 74,780 applicants or 26% of the total applicants nationwide. Given the state of the world and the global pandemic, an increased interest in this subject was almost a given. The Federal Government’s new stance on commonwealth support for the health and other STEM-related fields of study might have also had an impact. The next most popular field was society and culture, with 69,039 applicants or 24% of the total number of applicants.  

The average ATAR score for students who received an offer decreased from 77.4 to 77 in 2020. There are any number of reasons as to why this could be the case – COVID and the huge disruption to learning might have something to do with it. 2020 also saw a change in the offers being made to applicants. 27% of all offers made in 2020 to applicants were for those with an ATAR of 70.5 or above, which was lower than previous years. Offers to applicants who achieved an ATAR above 90 accounted for 9.8% of all offers.   

At the height of COVID, several universities, including Australian National University, released posts on their websites displaying a desire to ignore the results of Year 12 students in 2020 and use their results from the previous year instead. Swinburne University went as far as offering an ‘ATAR-free’ alternative pathway to a number of their most popular courses, including their Bachelor of Health Sciences and Bachelor of Business. Will other universities offer this option in the future? We’ll have to wait and see.  

For more information on the ATAR score system and how to encourage your child to start preparing, A Team Tuition is here to offer a helping hand! Contact us today on 07 3154 6180