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Frequently asked questions

If you would like more information about a specific course, you can fill-out our online form. We will email you course specific information about your area of interest. You can also choose to be kept up-to-date with information about studying at CDU. 

How do I apply to Charles Darwin University?

Applications for current Australian Year 12 students are made through the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC).  Applications are lodged online via the SATAC website, where students list up to six course preferences. Students can change the order of their preferences by a certain date, or add new courses; they will need to check the deadlines.

What if my child does not get the ATAR they need?

When completing the application students should have a backup plan. Their first preferences should be their ideal course and then continue down to course that will give them a pathway into their ideal course.  Alternatively, applicants can select courses that lead them into a different area of interest.  School Career Adviser also have information about alternative pathways into higher education.

There are also alternative pathways into CDU:

  • Complete a VET level course such as a Certificate IV (and/or its Certificate III pre-requisite if applicable)
  • The Tertiary Enabling Program is a bridging pathway to CDU’s Higher Education. You must be at least 18 years old to apply
  • Apply to sit a Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) if you're at least 18 years of age

What are ATAR Adjustment factors?

Some institutions allocate ATAR Adjustment factors to students for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they are awarded for the recognition of specific learning in Year 12 or for their school’s situation (e.g. school’s remoteness) or for individual disadvantage. Some points are added automatically and sometimes students are eligible to apply for additional ATAR Adjustment factors.

ATAR Adjustment factors do not change your child’s ATAR but rather the selection rank for a particular course or institution. ATAR Adjustment factors are added to the university aggregate from which selection ranks are calculated.

For more information about ATAR Adjustment factors and the new NT and SA schemes visit

What options are available if my child doesn’t get into university?

They can complete a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course such a Certificate IV and use that as entry into higher education.

If they're 18 or over, they can also complete CDU’s free Tertiary Enabling Program (TEP). TEP gives students the opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed at university. Once they have completed this course, they'll meet the minimum requirements for most CDU undergraduate degrees. For more information, visit the Tertiary Enabling Program website.

If they're an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander they can be assessed through the Indigenous Alternative Entry Program once they have turned 18 years of age.

For further information contact CDU on 1800 061 963 or email

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