Dreaming of setting sail – or wait, flying off is more accurate – to the other side of the world? For our northern hemisphere students, Australia technically is the flipside after all. Before you can board that flight though, there’s a lot to figure out. This includes where and what you want to study, for starters. With 36 of its 43 universities ranking in the QS World University Rankings, you’re spoiled for choice. And then once you’ve decided on that, you have to figure out how to apply for your chosen programs. Starting to feel overwhelmed? Don’t worry – we’re here with a step-by-step guide walking you through the application process for Australia!
How to Apply to Australian Universities as International Students
Unlike the UK and parts of Canada, Australia does not have a central platform through which you apply to universities. This means that you apply to each university directly! Typically this is either by post or online, though online applications are more common. So, how do you get started applying to study in Australia?
1. Decide What and Where You Want to Study
This is the starting point of the whole journey. There may be a lot of factors influencing your decision on where and what to study. And the best way of whittling away at the options till you’re left with the best ones is research! Look through university profiles and course breakdowns to see whether the university offers what you’re looking for. Does it rank well for the subject you want to specialise in? What kind of facilities does it have, like labs, galleries, or sports centres? Is there on-campus accommodation? What about scholarships? Does your program offer work placement or internship opportunities? The answers to these questions and your personal preferences help you hone into the right university for you.
Be sure to consider additional factors, like the cost of living and lifestyle in your chosen city, too! Financial planning is a big part of your study abroad journey after all.
2. Meet the Course Requirements
Each university will have its own entry requirements. And this goes for courses, too! For example, a bachelor’s degree in dentistry might have totally different entry requirements in one university compared to another. It’s very important to take note of the eligibility and admissions requirements for the courses you want to apply for. This could include things like specific grade boundaries and English language test score requirements.
Australian universities will typically accept international qualifications like Cambridge International (CIE), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Pearson Edexcel exam scores. Lots of universities also feature the different exam qualifications they accept from other countries. So, when researching, do look into the score boundaries and accepted exams depending on your country! Some courses might require specific test scores, like GMAT or GRE qualifications. You’ll want to look into this early on, so you have enough time to book, prepare, and sit for these tests!
As an international student, you’ll also need to sit for English proficiency tests. This is a requirement for both your Student visa as well as your university application. It’s always wise to look into the score criteria and valid exams for both! Why bother sitting two sets of tests when you can sit one and kill two birds with one stone, right?
And speaking of student visas, here’s another of the Australian university admissions requirements to keep in mind. You can only get the Subclass 500 visa if you enrol for a full-time CRICOS-registered course. This means a valid course to get the student visa needs to be on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students. You’ll need a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) for this course to begin the visa application process!
3. Put Together the Right Documents
While the admissions procedure of each university will vary, there are some notable places of overlap. Here’s what a typical application package will consist of:
- Academic transcripts and school leaving certificates
- English language proficiency test scores
- Application form specific to the university
- Identification documents (scanned copies of the personal and contact detail pages of your passport)
- Recent passport-sized photographs
- Certified English translations of official documents in a different language
- Academic references
If you’re applying for scholarships and/or accommodation, there may be additional steps depending on the university. To make sure your application is a success, you’ll need to find out everything you can about the application process for Australian universities you’re targeting!
4. Stick to the Important Deadlines
This of course goes without saying, but international students might not know that Australian intakes are rather different compared to the rest of the world. In Australia, the academic year begins at the literal start of the year – around February or March. Even seasonal intakes mean different things here. Where a fall semester in other parts of the world would start in August or September, in Australia the autumn semester begins around February or March! This is because, as Australia is in the southern hemisphere, seasons are flipped here compared to the northern hemisphere. Take a look at the general intakes and their corresponding months below!
Australian University Application Deadline 2022
Again, the intake dates for different universities are going to be different. Most universities typically offer a Semester 1 (Autumn) and Semester 2 (Spring) intake. Some universities may offer a third intake for specific courses in the summer. And since we’re talking about the Australian summer, this would be around September to November.
So When Should You Start the Application Process for Australia?
“As soon as possible!” would be our answer. The application window for most Australian universities is open until about two to three months before the semester start date.
Generally, it’s best to start preparing everything you need and apply as soon as possible. Admissions into Australian universities can be quite competitive. And this means the sooner you apply, the greater your chances of securing a spot. Plus, you’re going to need your Confirmation of Enrolment to start applying for your visa. The processing time can be anywhere between 44 days to six months for the Subclass 500 visa. If you want to get your travel arrangements in order in time before your course start date, you’re going to need all the time you can get!
Our Final Thoughts on the Application Process for Australia
The application process for Australia is specific to each Australian university. And the Australian university admission requirements also vary from institution to institution, and course to course. To be sure that you’re giving yourself the best chance at admissions success, look into these eligibility criteria carefully. This gives you a good idea early on about which courses you qualify for and which you have to work up to. The sooner you start, the more time you have to work on things like your grades and English language test scores. And this also gives you the time to approach the application calmly and methodically. If you rush around at the last minute, there’s a higher chance that you might make mistakes or forget things. Preparing and applying early also boosts your chances of getting into your chosen university! The sooner you get your acceptance, the sooner you can also start applying for a visa and arranging your travel and accommodation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do international students apply to Australian universities?
Unlike the UK and some parts of Canada, the application process for Australia is one-to-one between you and the university. International students need to look into the specific entry requirements for their chosen courses at their preferred universities. Do note that there may be specific requirements you need to fulfill as an international student or depending on your country of citizenship! A couple of these requirements may include:
- Region-specific exam requirements (e.g. specific STPM grade boundaries for Malaysian students)
- Certified English translations of official documents in different languages
- English language proficiency test scores
- Identification documents such as copies of your passport and birth certificate
Is there a list of Australian universities with free application for admission of international students?
Application fees for Australian universities can range between AUD 50-100. A couple of universities don’t charge an application fee at all, particularly for online applications, including:
- University of Notre Dame
- Charles Darwin University
- Bond University
- University of South Australia
- University of Wollongong