Matrix Blog


Hugh’s Hacks: How I Achieved 6 Early University Offers

Matrix tutor and teacher Hugh Entwistle shares the secrets that got him 6 early uni offers.

2015 Matrix Graduate, Hugh Entwistle achieved an ATAR of 98.80 and graduated from Epping Boys High School. He also achieved 5th in the state for Drama and was nominated for HSC Drama Showcase – Onstage (for his group and individual performance); his group performance was chosen for Onstage. He aspires to study a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Mathematics) at the University of Sydney. Of the 6 Early University Offers/Scholarships that Hugh received as well as an unconditional offer into a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Mathematics) at the University of Sydney, he chose to accept the Macquarie University Academic Merit Scholarship, Great Teaching and Inspired Learning Cadetship as well as the Teacher Education Scholarship and will be attending Macquarie University to complete a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Mathematics) as an Academic Merit Scholar.

How I Achieved 6 Early University Offers/ Scholarships

Even before I knew my ATAR or finished my trial exams, I knew that I was going to university! I was relaxed yet still ambitious to achieve a 95+ ATAR, and I was able to do so in the comfort that I had things to fall back on. Do not underestimate the power of early entry, and get on top of these applications! These are the 6 Early University Offers/Scholarships that I was awarded:


Macquarie University Academic Merit Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to those who are expecting to receive an ATAR of 98.5. In addition, applicants should demonstrate: outstanding character, maturity, common sense and the capacity to triumph over hardship.Students are given $12,000 per year for up to 5 years.

It’s a scholarship that is only eligible for students with 98.5 ATAR and above – so its already extremely difficult. But if you had done a decent amount of co-curricular activities .etc. then the scholarship favours those people extremely well.

I was successful because I invested a lot of time into my personal statement and resume – and I also had a very substantial selection of non-academic achievements to put on the resume. Take advantage of the extra-curricular work, and even those “one-off” optional science excursions as (when listed cumulatively on a resume) they look extremely impressive and display the fact that your school career wasn’t merely devoted to study.

You can apply for this AFTER you get your ATAR, so you don’t even have to spend time on the application during the HSC – it will all be over!


Schools Recommendation Scheme (SRS)

The SRS is one way universities can make early undergraduate offers, using criteria other than ATAR. SRS criteria include: your school’s rating of your abilities, school’s rating of your aptitudes, your Year 11 studies, your awards and achievements. Such criterion differs between institutions but may include: making offers based on SRS criteria, based on SRS criteria and ATAR or SRS criteria, ATAR and equity criteria. To apply, students complete an online application via UAC. The school provides their assessment of your abilities and the universities consider applications. Finally, a conditional (based on ATAR) or unconditional offer may be made to the first preference you have listed in your UAC application.

Through the SRS I was admitted into a Bachelor of Science at Macquarie University AND at University of Technology Sydney. This early entry scheme is extremely easy and requires hardly any effort on your part – it can be done through UAC! ( In 2015, they closed on the 30 September and I was notified of my success in November).


Educational Access Schemes (EAS)

EAS assist educationally disadvantaged students gain admission to university. This means your performance must have been affected for at least 6 months in Year 11 or 12, due to circumstances beyond your control and choosing. Institutions can help with admission by setting aside places for EAS applicants or allocating bonus points. To apply for EAS, you must complete the EAS application form, provide the necessary supporting documentation and submit the form to UAC by30 November (in 2015).

This isn’t an early entry program (but is needed to be considered for SRS at UTS), so it is good to check your eligibility. It is given to students who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage. Since I am profoundly deaf and have a cochlear implant, I was eligible for this scheme. Most universities will permit bonus points for these students, (but it is important to remember that bonus points don’t affect your ATAR or your HSC marks – they are only for university entry). I didn’t end up needing these bonus points – but it was very reassuring knowing that I still would have been considered for my dream courses had I not achieved the required ATAR.


Global Leadership Program (GLEP)

This extracurricular program can be taken with any degree program at Macquarie University. Students have the opportunity to participate in any Global Leadership Program activities, access the Macquarie University library and resources, access the study community area, access the campus wi-fi and enrol before completing the HSC exam! Applicants should be leaders in their community, be involved in extra-curricular activities, achieving good results and aspire for global engagement and leadership. To apply, applicants need to complete an online application form, complete the supporting information form (requires a principal or nominee endorsement and details of your extra-curricular activities), attach Year 11 and 12 High school results, and other supporting documentation (depending on the degree for which you are applying for).

This is an excellent early entry program done through Macquarie University, which will provide you with unparalleled opportunities to enhance your study experience and develop important leadership skills. You can apply for early entry into certain degrees at Macquarie through this program – and literally become a student and access all of the facilities before your trials!. I attained an early offer for a Bachelor Applied Finance (ATAR Cut-Off of 88) and some of my friends got early entry into a Law Degree! (ATAR Cut-Off of 96). This also meant that I could book study pods at Macquarie Library for group study sessions for the HSC.


Teacher Education Scholarship

This scholarship gives you $5000 per year while you study an education/science degree at university and a permanent teaching job as well as a $3000 appointment fee after your studies. To apply, you need to be an Australian citizen, complete the HSC in a NSW secondary school, intend on enrolling in teacher education studies at a recognized Australian university and be willing to accept an appointment as a permanent full time teacher to a NSW public school

I was 1 of 120 scholarship recipients – and have been guaranteed a stable career path as well as financial income as I complete my studies. This scholarship is extremely sought after by undergraduates seeking a career in education.


Great Teaching and Inspired Learning Cadetship (GTIL)

This cadetship gives you part-time job while you study, teaching experience in a school and a permanent teaching job after completing your studies. To apply, you need to be an Australian citizen, complete the HSC in a NSW secondary school, intend on enrolling in teacher education studies at a recognized Australian university, be willing to accept an appointment as a paraprofessional to a NSW public school and be willing to accept an appointment as a permanent full time teacher to a NSW public school.

I was 1 of 25 scholarships given across thousands – and have been guaranteed a part time job throughout university as well as a permanent job after as a teacher in a NSW school. If you have a passion for education, – this is another amazing scholarship that you need to look at.

Tips for Applying for Scholarships:

  • Embrace your co-curricular activities as well as academic achievements – as most of these scholarships are in search for perfect all-rounders!
  • Write several drafts of your applications to ensure that your responses are insightful, intelligent, honest, and free of any fatal spelling errors.
  • Prepare and dress well for the scholarship interviews/panels as your first impression and ability to engage and provide insight is extremely essential to your success as some of these scholarships will analyse your personality and interview skills.
  • Keep on-top of dates (as there are so many) and do not apply for things simply because you don’t think you will get the required ATAR. – I could’ve applied for Sydney Scholars which needed required an ATAR of 95, but I did not apply due to my doubts about my ATAR result, and thus loss the opportunity for $5000 a year if I were to study at the University of Sydney.  That was a terrible mistake!

Early offers into a university are extremely beneficial, and even though I didn’t end up accepting these offers – I was able to do my HSC without anxiety, enabling me to think more clearly and critically in the heat of the exam.


Learn how to maximise your ATAR

Written by Guest Author

We have regular contributions to our blog from our Tutor Team and high performing Matrix Students. Come back regularly for these guest posts to learn their study hacks and insights!


© Matrix Education and, 2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Get free study tips and resources delivered to your inbox.

Join 75,893 students who already have a head start.

Our website uses cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies. Read our cookies statement.

OK, I understand