University preference-changing myths, busted 

Waiting for an offer can be stressful enough. We sort the real from the rumour so you can blitz through the preference changing process

If you’re in Year 12 and finished exams, waiting for results can feel like a never-ending state of limbo. And let’s be real – after months of study, the last thing you wanna do is stress about hanging out for uni preferences and undergrad offers. 

Here, we attempt to bust every preference-changing myth in the book. And yep, the whole process is a lot more straightforward than you’d think – even during a pandemic. 

Myth 1: If you don’t receive an offer on round one, you’ll miss out completely

Nope. Not true. Which is awesome if you’re really passionate about a particular path. Keep in mind that if you don’t receive your number one offer straight away, you can still keep it at the top of your list for the next round. Some universities release extra spots in subsequent rounds or have places open up as other students alter or defer their own preferences. Don’t give up your dream pathway too easily!

Myth 2: Thanks to COVID, you’re probably not even going to get in

For Australian students – particularly those in Years 11 and 12 – it’s no secret that the last few years have caused some serious interruptions. Thankfully the Board of Studies have acknowledged the struggle, and are giving students a chance to apply for special consideration – which you can do all online.

Unis are jumping on board too! Macquarie University for example are giving all applicants five COVID-19 Impact Points – automatically applied via UAC – and WA’s Murdoch University has introduced an early offer scheme to reduce uncertainty for students.

Myth 3: You have to accept the first offer you get

Once you receive an offer you can either accept, defer or reject it. And accepting multiple offers until you make a solid choice? All good, too! Check in with individual universities on their policies about starting the enrolling process while you still have more than one offer in your ‘accepted’ pile. 

Myth 4: You should pick unis that your friends get in to

Although it’s cool to check in with mates about how they’re going with their uni offers, it’s equally important to listen to your own gut about what it is you want to study and where. If you and your BFF just so happen to get accepted at the same uni – awesome. If not? Catch ups will be even more exciting. Plus, double the uni cafes to hang at.  

Myth 5: It’s too late to change your mind

Not even finished exams and know that what you popped at the top of your preference list isn’t the path you wanna head down now? It’s not too late to change your mind. 

There’s a two-day window between an offer round and when you’ll need to submit your change of preferences, which means you can tweak them right up until the final round of offers in March. Check important dates and deadlines here

Feeling more confident about the process? Remember that if you don’t receive an offer at all there are so many equally awesome alternative paths into STEM careers including TAFE and VET opportunities.


Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.


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