Higher School Certificate (HSC)

The Higher School Certificate (HSC) is the highest educational award in NSW schools.

Your child will receive their HSC once they have successfully completed Year 11 and Year 12 (Stage 6) and satisfy all HSC course requirements.

If your child does not complete the HSC, they may still be eligible to receive a Record of School Achievement (RoSA).

On 1 January 2018, the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) replaced the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES).

The Board of NESA (the Board) is responsible for the Higher School Certificate in NSW.

HSC students will receive a copy of the HSC Rules and Procedures Guide when they start their HSC study, outlining important information about HSC enrolment, assessment, examinations, and results.

Further information is available from your school or on the NESA website.

ATAR - Australian Tertiary Admission Rank

Generally, one in three students will gain entrance to university in the two years following the Higher School Certificate. Most of these students will be selected for university entrance using the ATAR. Some students may gain entrance to University through early admission schemes.

The sole purpose of the ATAR is to assist universities in selecting students for entry into their courses in the first two years beyond the Higher School Certificate. If a student does not wish to enter university in the first two years of completing the Higher School Certificate, there is no need to gain an ATAR.

To be eligible for an ATAR you must satisfactorily complete at least 10 units of ATAR courses.

These ATAR courses must include at least

  • eight units from Category A courses
  • two units of English
  • three ATAR courses of two units or greater
  • four subjects. Students considering university entrance at the conclusion of Year 12 should consult with the University Entry Requirements Booklet produced by the University Admission Centre (UAC) and their Careers Adviser.

HSC minimum standard

Literacy and numeracy skills are essential for success in life after school. This is why a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy will be required to receive the Higher School Certificate from 2020.

Further Information can be accessed at the Universities Admissions Centre website