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Application Hints and Tips for Residential Colleges

If you haven’t undertaken the application process for a residential college before, it can be a little daunting. So how does it all work? And how do you select which of the Melbourne Colleges is right for you? Hopefully these hints and tips will help!

1) It’s never too early to apply for a residential college

The earlier you apply, the better chance you have of securing a place at your college of first preference. University College applications generally open around March and peak in August, after the colleges hold their Open Day. Many people decide to apply after they receive their university offer and VTAC number, but by then most colleges have already been filled. There is nothing to lose by applying early and securing yourself a provisional offer (more about that below) so you have peace of mind that there is a place being held for you. It’s also one less thing to think about when completing Year 12! Applying earlier might also score you a better room; for example at UC, we have a number of ensuite rooms available, and the earlier you apply, the better chance you have of securing one.

2) Do your research

There are ten student residential colleges affiliated with the University of Melbourne, so have a look at their websites, social media channels, take a tour if you can and speak to people who are living/have lived at a college so you can narrow down your preferences.

Try to choose a college that is the best fit for your personality—consider the size of the college, its history and the type of students that live there. All these factors mean that each college has its own unique vibe. Also, don’t forget that some colleges only accept University of Melbourne students, while others accept students from multiple universities (so where you intend to study may narrow down your options).

3) Student applications are completed centrally

There is only one form to complete when applying for the colleges. You will be asked to rank the colleges in an order of preference – so your application will only be considered by one college at a time. Applications are processed centrally through our intercollegiate website (a website representing all of the colleges as a collective).  

4) Accompanying documents and references

Your application will require the below to be submitted:

  • Passport style photo
  • Names and contact details of an academic reference and a personal reference
  • Any school results you might have
  • Resume
  • $75 application fee (you only have to pay this once – not for each college that considers your application)

We will request further details (such as your ATAR, VTAC number or university offer) at a later date.

5) You can make changes to your application

It’s also important to remember that you can make changes to your application once it’s submitted. If you decide you want to change your preferences, or you wish your application to be passed to another student residential college, you can contact the intercollegiate office on enquiries@colleges.unimelb.edu.au or +61 3 9248 8428 and they can assist you.

6) The interview isn’t that scary

Every college that considers your application will want to conduct an entry interview. The process varies from college to college, but at UC it’s really more of a chat than an interview, so don’t be too nervous. Usually it will take place over Zoom with one of our staff members, and will take approximately 30 minutes. We will ask you about yourself, your hobbies, how you prefer to study etc. The key is to just be yourself. Don’t forget, it’s also an opportunity for you to ask any questions you might have about student college life, so perhaps have a think about some questions beforehand.

7) You can secure a provisional place without a university offer

Did you know you don’t need to wait for your university offer or your VTAC number to apply for a place at college? These are details you can submit later. Most of the colleges do offer provisional places – meaning they want you to join their community so will hold a place for you until you find out if your application to a Melbourne university has been successful. At UC, we don’t charge you anything to do this, and you can drop the place at any time if circumstances change. So really, you’ve got nothing to lose! Many people wait to consider their accommodation once university offers are released, which is risky, as some colleges may be full by this time.

8) First choice isn’t everything

Sometimes students put a lot of pressure on which order to rank the colleges, and are disappointed if they don’t get their first choice. But remember, all of the colleges offer an amazing experience, so you will still have a great time, even if you end up living at your second or third choice of college. Remember, if you don’t make it into a particular college, it doesn’t mean you’re not a great student! The reality is that some colleges receive a lot more applications than places, and so you may miss out on your first choice. This is why it’s important to apply early, and be open minded about other colleges, beyond your first preference.

9) What does a pool have to do with anything?

You may hear us talk about ‘the pool’ during your application process – this simply means your application is being passed onto your next college preference.  If it is getting really late in the process, some colleges may automatically pass on your application as they are full, but generally the next college on your list will reach out to you for an interview. Your references and other parts of your application are passed on between colleges.

10) You can defer your place

Once you secure a college place, you can defer it, just like you can a university place, so if you do take a gap year, you can rest easy in the knowledge that your college place will be waiting for you the following year.

Best of luck with your applications, and don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team if you have any further questions.