A Guide to Studying in Australia…yep…Australia

Attending a university outside of the United States may feel foreign. Did you catch that pun there? Well fears step aside and be ready to hear about something different and excited and way more accessible than you think.

Families may feel limited in college options, when the truth is there are a TON of college options beyond your backyard and within reach. Getting a degree is more than the degree itself, it’s the experiences, the growth, the immersion in a new environment that challenges you and champions you as you begin crafting a platform for the next stages of life.

International universities may be an incredible fit for a student. I have written mostly about colleges I’ve toured within the U.K. (see posts below if you’re interested), and now am ready to tackle Australia. After attending a counselor breakfast with representatives from four Australian universities I gained a better understanding of not only the options in Australia, but why Australia may be a perfect fit for students.

Australian universities are comprised mostly of public universities (43 universities public, 2 international and 1 private). The nice part about the educational system is that it’s clear, mostly 3 year degree programs and top research universities ranked worldwide in their programming.

Students earning a degree in Australia would be able to come back to America and have not only an accredited, accepted degree, but also have the advantage of a global network. The post will be broken up with a few different sections, so check it out, jump to what you want, and remember there typically is a representative living in North America, so do find out who your international rep is and they can help walk you through the application process and provide direction along the way.

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Academic and Student life


  • Students apply directly to a degree program, and not undecided
    • You don’t necessarily need to choose a specific major, but you would need to be able to choose the larger discipline
    • Example: Apply to a university under Science, then typically by the second year, choose you individual program of study such as Physics or Biotechnology
  • All degrees are 3 years
  • Grading is more exam heavy, final exam holds strong weight on final grade
  • Some universities offer direct entry programs faster with medicine dental, vet and law
    • May have additional requirements such as an interview or essay
  • Large lectures and smaller tutorials
    • Students will typically have bigger classrooms and then weekly small tutorials and groups, a lot of online advising and support, open office hours with professors
    • Lectures are all recorded and put online for students to go back and review

Student Life

  • Residential colleges are available to live on campus
    • A lot of times will have set meals, social activities and tutors available
    • Can live off campus and there are campus resources to help you find housing
  • Healthcare is included in fees and accessible, students will not be paying out of pocket for most things
  • Safety rankings and reputation for Australia are incredibly high
  • Public transportation is incredibly accessible, no need to have a car
  • Access to cities and the outdoors

Admissions + College Costs

The application process is fairly straightforward for a majority of universities and programs.

  • Find the school, look at your program and see the minimum SAT/ACT or GPA and get an idea if you can get admitted. Some require AP exams, but not all
  • No essays or extracurricular activities, straightforward academic review
  • Admissions is mostly rolling, meaning you can apply anytime
  • If you do not meet requirements, pre-college programs are available to supplement and transition into the program
  • Most programs begin end or February and into June

Students can use FAFSA for some universities abroad. Very affordable, clear costs and graduate with three years. The cost of tuition is roughly comparable to your local state school, and keep in mind, you’re only paying that for three years instead of four.

Visas are fairly simple, and students are able to work and earn a salary (minimum wages tend to be high) 20 hours part time during school and more during breaks.

Sydney, Australia

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Macquarie University

About a 25 minute train ride from the city, Macquarie’s campus houses top ranked programs with a national park adding a beautiful campus environment.

  • Ranked among the top two percent of universities in the world
  • Train station and hospital on campus
  • Strong business, marine sciences, cyber security
  • Global alumni network

University of New South Wales

  • Highly ranked for employer reputation, ranked top 50 in the world
  • Designated art and design smaller campus in downtown
  • Strong research and career focused within their programs
  • Master classes, internships, career fairs, including international one
  • Strong engineering and business programs

Melbourne, Australia

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Deakin University

  • Deakin Genie (personal “Siri” type feature designed specifically for the university) students can ask the Genie any question regarding to their classes and the larger university itself
  • Supportive student environment, international student support, career development
  • Study from Architecture, business to design, education, engineering, law and more

University of Melbourne

  • Top university in Melbourne and ranked top worldwide
  • Research intensive institution
  • Strong alumni and employability
  • Separate downtown campus for performing arts
  • Taking 75% of your classes within your discipline, 25% able to take electives, other courses

***Always check directly with a college’s website for the most up-to-date information and contacts***

More international resources

Essential resources and tips – General good to know information for studying in the UK

Applying to the UK Through UCAS

University College Dublin, Ireland

Guide to International University Admission

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