Studying in Australia – The Application Process

Every year, thousands of international students flock to one of Australia’s 39. According to the latest available figures, only the USA and Britain attract more students than Oz. If you’re wondering how to get in on this action, you’re in the right place to find out. Below is a guide to the application process for studying in Australia, with a timeline of how long you can expect your application to take.

Note that the academic year in Australia runs from February (the height of summer in the upside-down bit of the planet) to November.

Some courses start midway through the year in July, but the vast majority start – as is traditional – at the start.

The below guide is for Semester One (February) entry.



Select course and location

Selecting an undergraduate, postgraduate or study abroad programme is a major decision that will have a huge impact on your future. So it goes without saying that you should do as much research as you possibly can into the course and location that will define the next stage of your education. Start with websites – both the universities’ websites and external ones are designed to help you make your decision like but don’t leave it at that.

Talk with friends or family who have either visited or studied in Australia.

Attend counselling sessions

If you’re based in the UK QS Advance provides a free counselling session at our offices in North London to answer all your questions and find the best-fit programme for you. Researching the programmes and universities is something you should take your time with, so it’s best to start sooner rather than later.

Look into funding options

Funding is tricky in Australia due to the high tuition fees and limited scholarship opportunities. It is not currently possible to cover tuition costs in Australia with a UK student loan. Generally, students have to depend on savings or family contributions to finance their studies. Fees, on average, run at about £16,000 per year and living expenses can range from £10-25,000 per year depending on your lifestyle and the city you live in.


Made up your mind on a couple of places (having a backup is wise) and courses? Meet their academic requirements?

Then it’s time to apply

You need to send out your documents to the selected university. Universities need to see your certified documents. If you apply through universities’ agents they will do it for you. Application fees are often waived for students who apply through QS Advance.


Your application shouldn’t take too long to process; four to six weeks is typical.

A conditional or unconditional offer of admission

If you haven’t finished your current programme of study or the university requires any further supporting documents, you may receive a conditional offer.

When you’ve fully met all of their conditions for entry, you will receive an unconditional offer of admission.

Confirmation of Enrolment

When you have accepted the offer and paid your deposit, you will receive a document called a Confirmation of Enrolment (CoE) from the university.

You will need this document, as well as your unconditional offer of admission, to apply for your visa.

Visa and Student Health Cover

If you’re studying in Australia, it is a condition of your visa that you purchase Overseas Student Health Cover from a certified provider for the duration of your stay.

The university will normally suggest a provider to you in your offer letter.

Around the same time:

Housing options

There may be cities in Australia where the temperature during the height of winter reaches levels which would be classed as a heat wave in many countries, but you can’t live on the beach, OK?

So once you know you’re in, start working on getting yourself a place to stay.

Many universities offer some form of accommodation, ranging from colleges in the style of Oxbridge, to ordinary halls or self-catered apartments. Places at these are limited and often distributed on a first-come-first-served basis.

Early January:

Let your university know when you’re arriving

Many universities will send out a welcoming committee to meet you at the airport – which can be very helpful when you step off the plane, dazed and confused, in a brand new country.

Late January:

Time to go!

Land at the airport, meet the university representative, avail yourself of some transport to your new abode and unpack your stuff. Go to the beach, take a picture of yourself and send it to your friends. Generally, gloat.


Begin your course

Complete all the registration bits and bobs at the university, attend orientation events (they are usually mandatory), make some friends, and begin your course. Good luck!

Article written by Pardis Samiee, Admission Counsellor, QS Advance.