A guide on changing preferences for Australian universities

QUT change of preferences Australia university
Image: QUT / Patrick Hamilton

If you didn’t have your head on straight while choosing your uni preferences, we’ve got good news: it’s ok to change your mind, and changing preferences at this stage could mean studying your perfect degree.

Have a question about changing preferences that an internet search won’t solve?

QUT is here to help! Visit their website to find more in-depth information on ATARs, receiving and deferring offers. Plus, they’ve got a helpful chat function for any unsolved queries you might have. Find out more.

3 reasons you might need to change your preferences


1. Listing out of order

If you listed your university choices by rank, alphabetical order, proximity to your house, or anything other than in order of favourites, you’re doing it wrong.

You’ll receive one university offer per round in the order of your preferences, so it’s essential to get this right. Listing your preferences out of order might mean missing out on your dream course – if everyone else has accepted their offer by the time the offer gets to you.

2. Estimating too high

It’s a crushing blow to see your ATAR come in below what you’ve hoped for, only to be doubly crushed to think that you might not make your dream course.

Don’t panic. This mark represents the ATAR of the last student accepted into the course for the year prior. But, if you’re well below the cutoff rank of your favourite course, it might be wise to have another look at your preferences to ensure that you’re prioritising the best courses for your rank.

3. Estimating too low

What a pleasant surprise to see such a stellar number on your ATAR results… until you realise all of your course choices were way too conservative.

Now’s the time to take another look at the courses you’d most like to attend and make sure you’ve listed your favourites when you’re changing preferences.

What next? How to change your preferences


Here’s what you need to know about changing preferences and getting your study future back on track.

When can I change preferences?

There is a two-day window between an offer round and when you need to submit your change of preferences. This means you can change your preferences up until just before the final round of university offers in March.

There are different dates for offer rounds and when ATARs are released across Australia, so check out all the important dates and deadlines here.

Can I accept an offer and change my preferences later?

Yes, but it gets a little complicated. Accepting an offer means you may continue to receive university offers in later rounds that you can still accept. However, if you accept your first preference, you will not receive any future offers. You will also not receive any future offers from different courses at the university you’ve accepted the offer to, if that offer was your first preference.

The best thing to do is accept any offers that come your way. If you would like to accept an offer that comes later, you can withdraw your enrolment from your first offered course. If you’ve accepted an offer from your first preference, but are unsure about your decision, changing preferences is a good option so that you can still receive future offers.

I’m still confused, help!


Changing your preferences and understanding university offers is difficult! Check out the QUT website for more information. They’ve got help on hand with their easy-to-use chat function, which means none of your questions will go unanswered!

Find out more here.

This article is brought to you in partnership with QUT


Eliza Brockwell

Author: Eliza Brockwell

Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.


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