Glossary of terms
You'll probably come across a number of unfamiliar terms during the application process, so we've compiled this list to help you with definitions:
- ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank)
- VTAC (Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre)
- Direct Applications
- OUA (Open Universities Australia)
- SEAS (Special Entry Access Scheme)
- Pi (Personal Information) Form
- STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Test)
- RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning)
ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank)
The ATAR is used to assess school leavers and is often the main factor affecting a student's entry into a course.
However, several factors are taken into consideration when assessing non-Year 12 applicants. These include prior education, work experience, training, other qualifications and secondary school results where relevant.
Entry standards vary greatly between courses, so it’s best to confirm the application procedure for individual courses using Swinburne’s Course Search.
VTAC (Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre)
The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) administers the application and offer process for university and TAFE institutions in Victoria.
As a general rule, all university and TAFE courses at diploma level and above require students to apply through VTAC.
(All TAFE courses that are Certificate IV and below require students to apply directly to the university. )
Swinburne’s Course Search lists all our courses and explains the application procedure for each.
Applications to VTAC must be submitted electronically via the VTAC website. Applications through VTAC commence in July each year and close during the last week of September.
Although late applications will be accepted by VTAC until mid-December, some programs with special requirements will not accept late applications. Please check the VTAC Guide for details or view Swinburne's VTAC Entry web page.
The VTAC Guide to University and TAFE courses, produced annually, is available from newsagents or alternatively may be viewed on the VTAC website.
For programs not offered through the VTAC system, you will need to complete a direct entry application form for the appropriate level of study.
The Apply section offers more detailed information on direct applications.
Please note that all mid-year intake applications should be made by direct entry; applications cannot be made through VTAC.
For part time study within the TAFE division, or for those TAFE courses that are not offered through the VTAC system, applicants should contact 1300 275 794 for details on how to submit application forms.
OUA (Open Universities Australia)
OUA is owned by seven leading universities and is the country’s fastest growing online higher education service. Over 110,000 people have already studied with OUA since it began in 1993.
You can choose to study from over 100 subject areas and graduate with qualifications from 15 academic providers. There are no entry requirements to start studying with Open Universities Australia.
SEAS (Special Entry Access Scheme)
SEAS is a program which allows VTAC applicants to describe specific circumstances which have adversely affected their education. The information submitted on the SEAS application will be considered by course selection authorities at participating institutions when ranking applicants for selection to tertiary courses.
SEAS Category 1 relates to mature age entry.
This information is also used by some institutions to award scholarships. Being eligible to apply for SEAS does not guarantee an offer, as you will be competing with other eligible applicants.
Pi (Personal Information) Form
The VTAC Pi form is a way for applicants to provide personal information, which isn't collected in the regular application, to selection officers. It can be accessed by logging into MyInfo on the VTAC website.
Only one VTAC Pi form may be submitted per applicant and subsequent alterations will not be accepted.
You must complete and submit a VTAC Pi form if it is listed as an extra requirement for any of the preferences on your VTAC Online Application.
You may also choose to complete and submit a VTAC Pi form (even if it is not an Extra Requirement for any of your preferences) if you wish to provide any of the following details to support your application:
- Work experience
- Circumstances of disadvantage while undertaking tertiary study
- Languages other than English
- Reasons for applying for your chosen course
Check the important dates in your VTAC Guide to find out the deadline for submitting the form.
STAT (Special Tertiary Admissions Test)
The Special Tertiary Admissions Test is an aptitude test designed to assess a range of competencies commonly considered important for success in tertiary study. VTAC administers two types of STAT on behalf of institutions:
STAT Multiple Choice
This test requires you to read and interpret graphical displays of information and passages of writing, to use mathematical relationships and to apply reasoning to tables of data. The test is two hours long with ten minutes reading time, and contains seventy multiple-choice questions.
STAT Written English
This test assesses your ability to organise and express your thoughts in a logical and effective way. The test is one hour long with five minutes reading time, and contains two short essays.
You need to sit the STAT if it's:
- Listed as a course requirement in the selection mode or extra requirements of a course entry
- A requirement when applying for special entry schemes
It's important to note that if the STAT is listed as a course requirement, the course may provide exemption criteria and you may not have to sit the test. Read the course entry carefully and then the institutional page for any further STAT information. If you are still unsure you must contact the course authorities directly at the institution concerned.
It's your responsibility to find out whether STAT results can be used for admission to courses for which you're applying. VTAC does not have the authority to give advice on whether you are required to sit the test or not.
RPL (Recognition of Prior Leaning)
RPL is the acknowledgment of skills and knowledge obtained through learning achieved outside the formal education and training system - skills that have come from paid and volunteer work, or been attained through leisure pursuits (such as musical, mechanical or linguistic abilities).
Through RPL you may be able to complete you course in a shorter amount of time.