Parents guide to change of preference

We're here to help you and your child take the mystery out of the change of preference period.

Need help?

How to support your child during change of preference

Read our guide to help you support your child prepare for the change of preference period.

  • How do I support my child before ATAR release?

    For your child, it may feel like their entire future is riding on achieving the right ATAR score. But it’s not.

    The first thing you can do is to familiarise yourself with the application process. The change of preference period can be an overwhelming, so it can be a great source of support and knowledge for you to get to know how the VTAC preferencing system works and all the important dates.

    It’s also useful to be familiar with the alternative pathways or entry schemes that could play a vital role in helping your child find a way into their dream course.

    The second thing you can do is to encourage your child to consider courses that align with their passions, rather than what they think they ‘should do’. One of the most valuable forms of advice you can offer is the assurance that the path to a rewarding career takes many forms.

    This approach will give them the confidence to choose subjects that draw on their strengths and character attributes, which will serve them better in the long run, and is especially important for the youth of today with research showing that 84% of Australian youth want a career that will match their passions [i].

    Use ATAR calculator to estimate your child's ATAR

    ATAR Calculator

    Need help?

    [i] Year13 (2020) After the ATAR III, YouthSense.

  • How do I support my child after ATAR release?

    We know it's been said a million times before, but an ATAR is only one small part of your child's life journey.

    How you react to results day can impact your child almost as much as the score itself. If they met their goals or scored even higher, take time to simply celebrate with them before moving on to talk of future plans.

    If not, there may be a lot of confusion and uncertainty with the outcome, especially if they didn’t achieve the score they were hoping for. Gently remind them there are many pathways into university degrees that your child can consider. Let them know you’ll support them in their decision-making by helping them to consider all the study options available to them.

    No matter what happens, getting through high school and completing Year 12 is a huge achievement and one that your child can be proud of – regardless of their ATAR.

    Explore your child’s options with our La Trobe team

    Call 1300 135 045

    Live chat

    Book a consultation

  • Change of preference

    Maybe they aced their exams and have their ideal ATAR. Perhaps they didn’t do as well as expected, and now need a pathway to the degree of their dreams. Or they could’ve just changed their mind or discovered a new course that aligns better to their passions.

    Whatever the reason, your child can change their university preferences. Read our change of preference guide to familiarise yourself with how to navigate changing preferences on the VTAC website.

    Get personalised support at a change of preference event

    Drop in to one of our campuses to get a 1-on-1 consultation or go on a guided campus tour by our advisors and student ambassadors.

  • Alternative ways to get into La Trobe

    Did your child miss out on the ATAR they hoped for? Don't stress. We have a ton of pathway options to help your child get into their dream course, and we'll support them from their very first day at uni until after graduation.

    Find an alternative course by ATAR

    If your child didn’t get the ATAR for the course they wanted to study, then considering an alternative course with a lower ATAR requirement could be a good next step.

    Find courses by ATAR

    Pathways and entry program

    If your child knows what they want to study but missed out on their ATAR, it’s not over. There’s options for your child to get into their dream course.

    Explore pathways and entry programs

    Pathway and entry program finder

Visit our Year 12 Hub

Browse courses, hear from real students, get support and explore pathway tools.

Get started


If your child didn’t get the ATAR they hoped for, they can change their course preferences list in VTAC – this is called change of preference. The Change of Preference period is a short window of time where they can add, remove or re-order their preferences.

During this period, your child can change preferences as often as they like within the specified times. It is important to ensure that they meet all specified prerequisites and extra requirements for any course added to their preference list.

ATAR results will be released to Victorian students at 7 am on 11 December.

Learn more about VTAC important dates

VTAC change of preference for the December round offer is now open, and closes at 4 pm on 13 December for Victorian Year 12 students and 4 pm on Thursday 15 December for Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmanian Year 12 students.

VTAC change of preference for the January round opens at 2 pm on 21 December and closes at 4 pm on 22 December.

For IB students, change of preference opens at 3 pm on 3 January 2024 and closes at 4 pm on 5 January 2024 and closes at 4pm on 5 January 2023.

Learn more about VTAC important dates

VTAC is the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre. VTAC is a portal that will enable you to submit up to eight course preferences in order from your child’s most desired courses, to their least. They will then receive offers based on the selection criteria and requirements of the courses they have applied for.

Applying to VTAC also means they don’t have to apply to each university separately – so they’ll ever only need to fill in one application for all universities.

Most La Trobe University courses are available through VTAC application.

Learn more about VTAC

Pathways help your child get into their preferred course by enrolling into another qualification after high school.

For example, you they may complete a La Trobe Diploma or a TAFE Diploma as one pathway to a Bachelor's degree or start a related La Trobe degree and transfer into your chosen course.

An Entry Program at La Trobe provides various ways to boost your child’s application with the aim of getting an offer into their preferred course. These options can involve additional study in high school or alternatives to the traditional ATAR entry, such as athletic, work or community experience.

Learn more about pathways and entry programs

Need help? Talk to us

If you have questions or want help with exploring your child’s study options, we’re help to help you support your child in making the best choice for their future.