Information for Parents
Whether you've attended university or not, application, admission and enrolment at university can be confusing.
To assist parents, the University of Sydney runs a talk for parents at it's Information Day.
If you can't get along to this event, you'll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below.
- How are students selected for entry into Science at Sydney University?
- How can I help my child select the right course for them?
- How can I help my child research their options?
- I'm not familiar with the University system. How can I get an overview of how it works?
- Where can I find an explanation of the University jargon?
- How should my child apply?
- What is assumed knowledge?
- What ATAR will my child need to achieve to enter Science at the University of Sydney?
- What if my child doesn't achieve the grades to get into their first course choice?
- What if my child is going to be away when the HSC results come out?
- Once they are accepted into a course, how will they enrol?
- Will they be able to defer?
- What are the important dates?
- How much does it cost to go to university?
- We've just arrived in Australia. How will this affect my child's application?
- What scholarships are available?
- How does the Faculty of Science and the Uni make the transition from school to Uni easier?
- How many hours of classes will my child attend each week?
- Does the Uni have overseas exchanges?
- Will Sydney Uni help my child find a job?
- What computing facilities are available? Will my child need to buy a computer?
Generally your child will be considered for entry on the basis of high school results (either the HSC or another equivalent high school qualification).
Students completing the NSW HSC receive an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) that represents their ranking among all students in the State. Students are selected for entry into Science based on their ATAR.
The essential aspect to consider during this difficult decision-making process is what your child enjoys and what interests them.
It stands to reason that they will excel at that which they want to study.
Questions you and your child may like to discuss when considering courses:
- what they enjoy studying,
- what they are good at,
- their ATAR and
- whether they already have any career plans or aspirations.
If they have a specific interest or career path in mind then they may like to study a specialist degree like the Bachelor of Psychology which specialises in that area.
If they want more flexiblity in their study or they are still thinking about career choices they may want to look at think about a generalist degree like the Bachelor of Science where they will get the opportunity to study in several different areas including many subjects they will not have come across at school.
Combining a science degree with studies from another Faculty in a five year degree is another good option for students who have many areas of interest.
A high ATAR is an indicator of the number of students who have applied for the course, not the quality or difficulty of the course, therefore applying for a course with a lower cut-off than the ATAR they achieved is not a waste of an ATAR.
The most important element in assisting your son or daughter find the right course is encouraging them to research their options.
The UAC Guide is an important tool at this time because it provides a comprehensive list of courses on offer from universities in NSW and the ACT.
You will be able to look up past ATAR cut-offs, additional selection criteria, assumed knowledge and a course description for each degree.
You will also find information about the individual universities so you can help your child decide which institution might be right for them.
If your son or daughter has recently completed high school they should have received a copy of this guide at school. The UAC Guide is also available at newsagents.
You should also encourage a visit to the open days at the various universities that are of interest to your child. This way, you and your child will be able to talk to staff and students at the university as well as get a feel for the campus.
A good idea is to write a list of any questions you may have before you come along to the open day.
Encourage your son or daughter to visit the websites for the various universities to look for additional information about courses, faculties and services. The Faculty of Science website is a great starting place. If they are still confused, encourage them to call or email our Helpline on 02 9351 3021 or .
For more general information or information about other faculties, they should look at the University of Sydney website and then call the Helpline on 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864) if they are still confused.
Both Helplines are staffed by friendly advisers, including current students who know all about what it's like to be in the position of a recent school leaver.
You might need to remind your son or daughter to have their UAC application number ready when they call, as this will help our advisers.
It is important to consider the assumed knowledge and recommended studies of the courses your child is interested in. While the Faculty of Science has no prerequisites for degrees, our degrees have assumed knowledge, and individual units of study have prerequisites.
More info on assumed knowledge.
And of course, no decision is final. If they start a degree that is not right for them, there is usually the opportunity to apply for a transfer at the end of the first year of full-time study.
Lots of parents are in the same position, so try the beginner's guide to university to help you get started.
Try the Glossary of terms.
Anyone who wants to study an undergraduate university course in NSW or the ACT must apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).
If your child has just finished school they should have received a copy of this guide at school. The UAC Guide is also available at newsagents.
Visit the UAC website for more information.
Assumed knowledge and recommended studies are listed in the UAC Guide and the Faculty prospectus for each degree offered by the Faculty of Science.
Assumed knowledge is what the University expects enrolled students to know or to have studied prior to beginning their degree.
Recommended studies are courses that may assist the student in their degree if they have previous knowledge of the subject area.
Neither assumed knowledge nor recommended studies will affect a student's selection into a chosen degree. However, teaching staff will assume that students have this knowledge and teach accordingly.
Encourage your son or daughter to check whether they have the Assumed Knowledge for a particular unit of study or degree. If they do not, it is advised that they undertake a bridging course. Encourage them to visit the website for more information on Bridging courses which are run between enrolment and semester commencement.
We can't tell exactly what the ATAR cut-offs will be for the coming year, but we do publish the last two years ATAR cut-offs in the UAC Guide.
These previous cut-offs are not an indication as to the difficulty or quality of a course. They are a reflection on the number and quality of applicants seeking admission to a course, taking into account the number of places available for the course.
ATAR cut-offs may move up or down each year as these factors change.
Last year's ATARs for science degrees are also available on this website, and should be used as a guide to new student entry into courses for the coming year.
There are a few options. Firstly, they should look at other course options, as there are often other courses with lower entry marks that offer many similar study options.
BSc can get you there!
Secondly, if they are close to the ATAR cut-off they may still be considered for their first course choice under the Faculty's Flexible Entry scheme.
Thirdly, they could consider applying for another course and then applying to transfer after a year, however entry this way is still very competitive.
More information on all of these options is available by calling the Faculty's Helpline on 02 9351 3021 or by emailing .
You should call our Helpline on 02 9351 3021 or email us:
It is important that you are able to get in contact with them in case they want to change some of their degree preferences.
It is also essential that they are aware of important dates and deadlines. UAC dates and deadlines for next year's admissions can be found in the UAC Guide.
We will send them out the relevant information with their UAC offer.
They must come to the University on the designated day (in late January) or, if they are unable to make it, they can give someone (usually it's the parents!) written authority to enrol on their behalf. This is called proxy enrolment.
Everything you need to know about Enrolment
If your child is applying on the basis of the current year's HSC (or equivalent), generally they can defer for one year and they do this via UAC.
If they are not applying straight from school, they usually cannot defer.
Information about deferring is in the UAC Guide and will also be in the brochure that will be sent to your child with their offer from the University.
View important dates including the Science/Medicine double degree timeline.
Most of the students who study at the University of Sydney are Commonwealth supported.
These students have most of the cost of their education paid for by the government but must also contribute towards this cost themselves. Each student has a seven year full time period during which they can remain Commonwealth supported. This seven year period is called their "learning entitlement".
Some courses are more expensive to teach than others, so the amount students contribute depends on the courses and subjects students choose to study. The costs range from around $4000 to around $8000 per year.
Commonwealth supported students who are Australian citizens or holders of a Permanent Humanitarian Visa can choose to pay their contributions upfront or to obtain a HECS-HELP loan from the Commonwealth. A HECS-HELP loan is repaid through the tax system once the student is working and their income reaches a threshold (currently around $36 000). Students who choose to pay their student contribution upfront receive a 20% discount. The student's contribution is calculated twice a year (before each semester).
For more information, visit the Commonwealth government site.
In addition to their student contribution students can pay subscriptions at the time of enrolment to join the sports unions, the students union and the SRC.
Text books, materials and uniforms are also charges that students need to consider.
International students who have been studying in Australia still apply through UAC.
Students who obtained their qualifications abroad but are Australian permenant residents or citizens would also apply through UAC.
Other international students apply directly to the University. For more information contact the International Student Office on 02 9351 4079 or email via online enquiry.
The Faculty of Science runs a one-day workshop, the Transition Workshop, to help ease the transition from school to uni.
The workshop is an opportunity for students to meet other incoming students with whom they will be studying during their first year at the University, before classes start in March. The workshop also provides the opportunity to meet current staff and students.
The most important aspect of the workshop is that it will be structured so that on the day students will be able to meet other students who will be in some of the same classes as them. So on the first day of university, students will be in classes with friends they have met at the workshop.
Parents are also catered for at the event and a special parent's program is run inconjunction with the student program, giving parents the opportunity to participate in their son's or daughter's university experience.
In addition, the University runs special activities in orientation week in February to help smooth the transition process.
This will depend on the degree they are studying. Generally, science-based subjects have more contact hours than arts or humanities subjects, which require more independent learning and do not involve practical/laboratory classes.
The University offers a number of exchange opportunities in a wide range of countries to students in most degrees.
Read about what science students have said about exchange.
Sydney University has a comprehensive careers service that offers confidential careers counseling, job skills seminars and employer interview programs. The Faculty of Science also runs the Jumpstart Your Career! program each year.
Sydney Talent connects outstanding pre-graduates and graduates with leading employers for part-time and full-time work opportunities.
Find out about the kind of work available to Science graduates.
Computers are essential to university education, not only for word processing essays but also for research and revision. Your child will get a MyUni account which is a portal for them to administer their course, choose subjects, check exam results etc..
They will also be allocated a University email address which it is vital that they check regularly as the Faculty will send useful information and reminders to this address.
Because not all of our students have access to computing facilities we provide all students with access to a number of computing sites around campus with networked computers, printers and software which students can use free of charge.
When your child comes to the University your relationship with us will not be quite the same as you had with her/his school.
The University is subject to privacy legislation and cannot disclose personal information about its students, even confirming if someone is actually enrolled, without the consent of the student concerned. Even if you are the one paying for your child's studies, our privacy obligations do not allow us to disclose information about them to you.
Of course, there are some exceptions to this such as when matters of life or safety are concerned or when there is a legal requirement for the University to disclose the information. Otherwise, the University's staff are not permitted to give information about students.
Please do not be offended if you are told the University is not able to answer a question about your child without their consent. You can find out more about privacy at the University.