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Key dates explained

This article appears in:
Future and Focus, From High School to Uni

Applying to university can seem daunting. You might find some confusing terms or university speak that you haven’t come across before such as ‘equal consideration date’. But don’t let that stand in your way to pursuing your passion; it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

From applying, to enrolling and starting your studies, here’s a handy overview of the key dates you need to know and what it all means for you…

Applications open

So this one’s pretty straightforward. This is simply the first date you can submit your application to study your chosen courses.

Early application (or normal) closing date

In Semester 1, this is the latest date you can apply without having to pay the SATAC (or other admission centre) late fee. Students graduating from year 12 need to apply before this date, but can change preferences afterwards. Even if you’re not a school leaver, it’s certainly worth aiming to get your application in before this date as the late fee is $130. It does not apply to midyear applications. Information on SATAC Fees can be found online. 

On-time applications close

This is the latest you can submit your application and still have a good chance to start your classes on time. It takes several days to process and assess an application, receive and accept an offer and then enrol in your units. So it's best to allow a couple of weeks before the start of semester. You can still apply after this date, but it you might not be able to enrol in time for your first class. 

If you're applying for credit transfer or advanced standing, this takes time to process as well. Try to get in as early to give yourself the best chance to succeed.

Equal consideration date

Applying before the equal consideration date will give you the best chance of securing a first round offer. If you apply after this date, you’ll only receive an offer in future offer rounds if places are still available in your chosen course. The term ‘equal consideration’ means that all applicants who have the same selection rank for a course are considered equally. For example if three candidates all equally meet the application requirements (such as ATAR, selection rank or sub-quota) and apply before the equal consideration date, either all three or none will be made an offer. If you apply after this date, you will not be guaranteed equal consideration – you will only receive an offer if there are still places available.  It does not apply to midyear applications. 

Final date to apply

This is the last date applications to study are accepted. It’s not a good idea to leave it until this date as it can take several days to process your application and ensure that all documentation is provided – and you want to leave enough time to comfortably prepare for studying and not miss the first few days of the semester.

Main offer round

Applications made prior to the equal consideration date will be equally assessed and successful applicants will be made an offer for a place by email by 6pm on the main offer round date. After the main round, offers can be made to other applicants for courses that still have places available. Offers are often made right up until the semester starts, but the earlier you get in the greater your chances for being made an offer and having time to prepare to start the semester on time.

There are also early rounds of offers, so it’s beneficial to apply as early as possible.

Final date to enrol

Once you have received and accepted an offer to study, you will receive information on enrolling in your course and units. You’ll need to enrol in your course to start studying before the final date to enrol. This date is usually after the start of the semester, but of course you’ll give yourself the best chance to succeed if you apply, accept your offer and enrol well before the start of semester.

Semester starts

Just like it sounds, this is the date that classes (either on campus or online) start.

Census date

The census date is the final date you can withdraw from a unit without incurring an academic or financial penalty (or request to defer). You also need to finalise payment of all your fees before this date.


The dates of orientation differ each semester but it is usually the week before semester starts. Orientation is important for both online and on campus students as it will prepare you for university study and allow you to become aware of what services the university offers.


Remember: choosing your course preferences, completing your application, receiving and accepting your offer and then enrolling in your units can all take time. Be an early bird to avoid any last-minute panic and give yourself the best chance for success in your studies. See all CDU important dates online. 


This article appears in:
Future and Focus, From High School to Uni

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