Although most students that work with Rose College Prep apply to US-based colleges and universities, some students choose to apply to college outside of the United States. This article discusses all key areas for applying to college in Australia.
High School Preparations
Choosing to apply to college outside of your home country and citizenship is a big decision. Additionally, there are areas of the process that may look different for you, compared to your fellow high school classmates. Keep the following in mind before senior year of high school.
Select a high school curriulum
Some curriculums will be favored when applying to Australian schools. This is important to understand, as you may choose to select a specific high school, if they have the curriculum that will be most widely recognized and accepted. The International Baccalaureate and A Level curriculums are two options that you may want be consider, if you are heavily considering applying to Australian schools. Learn more here.
Choose a course of study
Instead of the American system, where most colleges give you time to explore academic interest areas over your 4-year degree, in Australia, you are only studying for 3 years, in one (or two) academics track(s) (called a "course"). Thus, your high school curriculum should be geared towards your eventual course choice. The earlier your choose your academic focus area, the earlier you can select relevant high school coursework, and even perhaps obtain relevant internships or work experiences.
To review courses in Australia, see here. Be sure to also visit individual school websites to identify any entrance requirements or academic curriculum preferences.
Plan the timing of your high school coursework
Unlike the US, Australia's semester 1 typically runs from February to June while Semester 2 typically runs from July to November. See here for academic calendar dates for varying Australian universities.
This information is important because it will affect when you should submit your applications, and when you will begin (and end) your studies. For example, you may choose to finish high school education in 3.5 years in the US and begin a university in Australia in February. Or, you may choose to come into an Australian universities at Semester 2, or even choose to take a gap semester (following high school). Depending on when plan to enroll at an Australian university, this will change when you need to submit your applications.
For Semester 1, plan to submit your applications in the fall (as early as August), or for Semester 2, plan to submit your applications in the spring (as early as April).
Fund your college studies
While college stick prices are typically cheaper in Australia, than in the US, it is still expensive to study abroad, and there are limited scholarships. Should you be admitted and decide to enroll at a specific Australian university, you will have to show financial proof you can fund your studies (including return airfare and tuition costs). Discuss with your parents how your college experience will be funded, and if you need to get a job in high school, to save for your undergraduate education.
Note: if you are interested in reviewing scholarship options for US students applying to Australian universities, see here.
Once you have prepared yourself throughout high school for your Australian applications, it is time to actually prepare for and submit your applications.
Finalize your college list
Similar to applying to college in the US, knowing your college list is essential to understanding what is required of you for your applications. Thus, once you know your course of study, I highly recommend researching and finalizing your college list as early as possible. With 38 institutions in Australia, nine of which rank in the top 100 in the QS World University Ranking 2024 report (here), there is a lot to consider. Here is a breakdown of the top 10 universities in Australia.
Note: once you identify your college list, you will also know where (on what website) to complete and submit your applications.
Take needed entrance exams
Standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT are not necessary for undergraduate admissions to Australian universities. However, if you attend a high school where the primary mode of instruction is NOT in English, you will have to take either the IELTS or TOEFL.
If you wish to study health science courses, like Medical or Dentistry courses, you will need to take the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission test (UMAT).
The personal statement
In general, a personal statement is not required for admissions to Australian universities. Instead, universities in Australia care more about your grades, test scores and your ability to afford the cost of attendance.
That said, you will want to prepare a personal statement to explain to the Australian government why you intend to study in Australia, when applying for your student visa.
Once you have received acceptance letters, and made your final college decision, you will need to apply for your visa, and begin your travel planning to Australia. The adventure now awaits :-)
Have More Questions?
Sami has worked with students since she graduated college in 2010, helping them through the full college application process---including career search, college list selection and essay writing. While most of her students apply to US institutions, she has helped with applications for Canada, Australia and UK schools.