For parentsImage of UoN academic, Michael Ondaatje.

Making the transition from high school to university is an exciting time for your son or daughter. It's also a time that can be a little overwhelming and we know that both parents and students have a lot of questions.

This part of our site is all about giving you some key information to help your son or daughter take this important step in their lives.

Attending one of our on-campus open days with your son and daughter is highly recommended. We hold these events in August each year – they're a great opportunity to visit the campus, view our facilities and talk to current students and staff about degrees and study options.

If you require any further detail, have a look at the comprehensive and easy to read information we have compiled especially for high school students considering university – links at the bottom of this page.

Parents and partners information sessions

These sessions are specifically organised for parents and partners of commencing university students.

Conducted during the Program Information and Enrolment sessions in the Orientation period, the University provides a welcoming place where parents and partners can gather, have a drink and meet other people in similar situations and listen to informed staff and students talk about life at university.

Sessions aims to address the concerns of parents and provide up to date information as well as a place for questions to be answered.

Thank you. The services offered to students and parents is outstanding.

Everything seems so daunting for first-time parents, it is very helpful to be able to have questions answered and also hearing other parents concerns. This session was fantastic.

Great idea – it helps as I had no knowledge as to how uni works.

Image of current UoN students.The ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) explained

NSW and ACT year 12 students receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) to determine their entry to university. The ATAR is based on overall marks and shows how well your son or daughter performed in the HSC compared to other students.

Each degree has a set number of places with a minimum ATAR for entry, which is the ATAR of the last person admitted to the degree.

The ATAR for each degree is determined by its popularity – degrees in high demand usually have a high ATAR.

ATARs from the previous year should only be taken as a guide as they can change from year to year according to demand.

Why university and why UoN

Going to university will be a wonderful experience for your son or daughter and it will open the door to a world of opportunity.

A university degree usually increases career possibilities and leads to better jobs and higher pay – uni graduates can earn around 20 per cent more than the medium annual earning for Australians aged 20 to 24.*.

At the University of Newcastle, we offer more than 90 undergraduate degrees and have 35,500 students across our three campuses in Newcastle, the Central Coast and Port Macquarie.

Our graduates go onto great careers, we're hands-on and responsive in our teaching, we provide a great environment for study and our research is world-class.

*Source: Australian Graduate Survey 2012.

How university is different to schoolImage of current UoN student.

University students have much more flexibility and independence than school students – they do not work within a set 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday schedule.

Your son or daughter will need to manage their own time and learning at university - from taking responsibility for their timetable and getting assignments in on time, to seeking assistance from lecturers and tutors when they need it. Full-time university students need to allocate around 40 hours per week to study, depending upon their degree.

University is also a wonderful social and cultural experience, with opportunities to join clubs and societies and be part of fun social events.

To get the most out of university, it is important that your son or daughter finds the right balance between academic life and social activities.

Helping your son or daughter choose a degree

Our most successful graduates are those that have chosen to pursue a degree in a field they are passionate about or have a natural talent in.

Encourage your son or daughter to think carefully about their strengths and interests and how these could be utilised and developed through particular university degrees and ultimately careers.

A little research could prove to be an invaluable and potentially life-changing exercise.

Looking through the range degrees offered by a few different universities is a great starting point. Students often stumble across possibilities they had never previously considered.

A great way to gauge employment prospects is by reading job advertisements online and in newspapers, looking at things such as employment prospects, salaries and working hours. Many job advertisements also include required degree qualifications.

Whether your son or daughter has clear career goals or some general ideas, make sure they look into what degree/qualification is required to achieve their career aspirations.

The application process

All applications for NSW and ACT undergraduate university degrees need to be made online through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

The main intake of university students is at the beginning of the year, with applications opening in early August of the previous year.

Your son or daughter should get a copy of the UAC guide, which details the official closing dates and late application fees. All schools should give year 12 students a UAC guide or it can be purchased from newsagencies.

The closing date for your son or daughter to change their degree preferences through UAC for main round offers is in early January.

At the University of Newcastle, we make the majority of our offers of admission in the main round. Late round offers are only made if there are vacancies.

Support and services

There a wide range of student support services available to help your son or daughter transition to life as a University of Newcastle student and to get the most out of their study. Services available include careers, counselling and student mentoring.

Our Centre for Teaching and Learning offers students helpful workshops and courses and gives advice on essay writing, preparing for exams, and English and maths skills.

Your son or daughter is likely to be eligible to apply for a range of scholarships to help with study costs such as fees, textbooks, and accommodation and living expenses.

At the University of Newcastle, we recognise a diverse array of strengths and qualities through awarding scholarships each year. In 2012, we offered 2,000 scholarships with a collective value of more than $5 million.

Accommodation optionsImage of UoN graduate, Anton Monsted.

If your son or daughter decides to go to university, they will need to choose if they want to live on-campus or off-campus.

Living on-campus offers students a range of social, cultural and sporting opportunities in an environment conducive to study and academic achievement.

At the University of Newcastle, we offer on-campus accommodation colleges at both our Newcastle (Callaghan) and Central Coast (Ourimbah) campuses. Each College is under the care of a Head of Residence and a team of residential staff. Demand for on-campus accommodation is high, so it is advisable to apply early.

If your son or daughter is interested in living off-campus, we can also offer advice and provide information about share housing and rental properties.

More information

For more detailed information on any of the above, have a look at the content we have created especially for high school students considering university.