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Monday, 5 September 2016

Uni choices

The past two Saturdays I've gone to uni open days with DS1, to help him decide which university/degree choices he may put (and in what order) on his UAC (Universities Admissions Centre) next year. These days most information is available online, so we thought it best to spend time attending open days this year, rather than next year when DS1 will be busy studying for his HSC exams. Next year he will have to choose up to nine courses (in preference order) for his UAC application. The UAC application currently costs $41 for Year 12 students, as long as application is made within the initial period (this year it is 3 Aug - 30 Sep). Late applications cost more (eg. $166 for applications made between 1 Oct -  31 Oct), As you can alter your preferences as many times as you like, it is best to apply before the initial 30 Sep deadline.

DS1 is mostly interested in Computer Science and Economics, so he is looking at doing a double degree in Commerce/Economics and Computer Science at either Sydney University or The University of New South Wales. At the moment he is leaning towards making UNSW his first choice, as he is familiar with the campus and already knows some of the faculty in computer science (having attended several courses there). He would also get credit for the first year programming course he did there last year, which he thinks would free up some time to concentrate on the compulsory math courses in year 1 (he is finding some of the subjects in Math Ext 1 a bit difficult, and has already decided he won't attempt doing Ext 2 Math for his HSC).

Another reason to preference UNSW over USyd is that their double degree in Commerce(Financial Economics)/Science(Computer Science) would only take four years (at ~$10,500 pa HELP fees), whereas the similar double degree course at Sydney Uni is a five year course. My view is that it would be better to do the double degree in four years and put the extra year/cost towards then doing a 1.5 year long Master of Economic Analysis post-grad course at Sydney University (if he wants to). UNSW also seems to have a more structured process for integrating overseas study at a one of 200 'partner institutions' in 39 countries as part of their undergraduate programs.

The ATAR cut-off for a double degree in Commerce/Computer Science at USyd is around 95.00, whereas 'on paper' the UNSW cut-off is slightly higher (96.50). However, Sydney University doesn't offer 'flexible entry' for the Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science course, where UNSW offers up to 10 'bonus points' - he could get 2 'HSC Plus bonus points for getting a band 5/6 result in Advanced English, and another 2 'HSC Plus" bonus points for getting a band 5/6 result in Mathematics, Also, if he finishes off the requirements for his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award to be finalised/approved by around this time next year, he would also get an additional 2 'EAP' (Elite Athletes and Performers) bonus points. So, the 'real' ATAR required for entry into the UNSW Commerce/Science double degree could be as low as 90.50.

As a fall-back position he will probably put Science/Computer Science at UNSW and Computer Science and Technology at USyd as his third and fourth choices, as the ATAR cut-offs for those courses is considerably lower (92.00 and 81.30 respectively), and he can always apply to transfer to the commerce/computer science double degree at the end of his first year (if his results are good enough).

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