College in general

Thinking about going to college? But what is college?

College (in Australia) is a place where you live to enrich your university experience. Some students come from overseas, interstate; others are from just down the road. Once the university year starts you live in a college close to the university, eat at college (all meals are provided), study at college, participate in sport and cultural events at college and socialise at college. College becomes your home away from home for 35-39 weeks of the year. With such a diversity of people in the colleges, you will make an amazing network of friends, live in a supportive and equal environment and have a life changing learning experience.

How do I choose a college of First Preference?

College is a personal decision, and although colleges offer similar facilities they all have their own personality. We recommend that you visit as many colleges as possible before applying. If you would like a tour of the colleges, we recommend visiting a smaller, medium and larger college to get a good overview and feel. Feel free to contact us for college tours.


If you are unable to tour the colleges, we suggest looking at each of the colleges’ websites and get a feel for what they offer and are like online. Feel free to contact the colleges to speak to them individually to get a better idea.

Can I tour the colleges?

Most definitely, in fact, we recommend that you visit at least three colleges before making your decision on a college of First Preference. All our colleges are open for tours during the university’s Open Day and during a number of other events. Alternatively, feel free to contact us to organise your tours by listing the 3-4 colleges you’d like to see or letting us make up a selection for you.

Where do college students come from?

The aim of most colleges is to have a diverse and dynamic community, made up of:

  • students from a range of secondary school types; including independent, Government and Catholic schools.
  • approximately 25% of students from either overseas, interstate, Victorian rural/regional and Victorian metropolitan backgrounds
  • a balanced gender ratio
  • good representation from across the six University of Melbourne degree courses. (in some cases from other universities)

This balanced community is established through the combination of returning and new students.

Do all colleges serve meals and are they good?

All colleges serve three meals per day, seven days per week during the semester and all colleges consult with their students on dietary requirements. Colleges welcome feedback in regards to their meals and aim to please the residents. In general, all colleges are able to cater for a range of dietary requirements including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, halal, kosher etc. If you have specific requirements, please approach the college of your first preference to discuss your requirements.

Do you allow students to cater for themselves?

Colleges generally cater for undergraduate students and do not allow self catering. Graduates are allowed to cater for themselves. All colleges have communal kitchenettes and usually provide access to a larger kitchen if students want to bake cakes etc.

Do you accept students from other universities?

Some Colleges and Halls admit only undergraduate and graduate students studying at the University of Melbourne (which includes the Victorian College of the Arts). Others also admit students studying at tertiary institutions other than the University of Melbourne. Colleges and Halls of the University of Melbourne may not admit more than 15% of their resident students from outside the University of Melbourne. Listed below are all the colleges and the institutions they accept applications from. This may change at any time, so please check with the college directly to confirm.

  • International House: University of Melbourne, and Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. If you are planning to study at another institution, please contact International House.
  • Janet Clarke Hall: University of Melbourne, Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and RMIT City Campus students.
  • Medley Hall University of Melbourne, RMIT and ACU students
  • Newman College University of Melbourne, Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Melbourne College of Divinity and limited number of RMIT City Campus students.
  • Ormond College University of Melbourne students only.
  • Queen’s College University of Melbourne, Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and RMIT City Campus (excludes Brunswick) students.
  • St Hilda’s College University of Melbourne and Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences students.
  • St Mary’s College University of Melbourne, Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, RMIT City Campus students, and ACU students.
  • Trinity College University of Melbourne students only.
  • University College University of Melbourne, Monash University’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, ACU and RMIT City Campus students.

Are there any single sex colleges?

All of the residential colleges of the University of Melbourne are co-educational. Students have their own private rooms but will share bathrooms, common areas and study facilities.

Does it help if my father/sister/great uncle went to college?

Although colleges support and value strong family connections, being a child or sibling of a current or past student does not in any way guarantee a place at college. All applicants are treated equally in the selection process.

How many places do you offer?

When current college students decide whether they will be leaving or staying for another year, the colleges discover how many places will become available. This number varies each year, so it is hard to tell how many places will become available.

How many people apply?

Colleges do not give out details on the number of applicants. The number is not really meaningful. Some applicants will not be offered a place at the University of Melbourne, and others will defer or simply change their minds. However, colleges generally do have more applications than places and the process should be considered extremely competitive. It is important to prepare yourself for all outcomes and have other accommodation options in mind.

Application Questions

How do I apply for a place at college?

Once you have chosen a college of First Preference, you may apply online through our application form which can be accessed from the home page. Please ensure you complete all relevant fields. The college you select as your first preference receives your application straight away. No contact is made until you send in your supporting documents. We do not suggest waiting to apply until you have all supporting documents as applications close early for most colleges. To check specific closing dates, please check with the colleges individually. You apply to University separately from applying to College. You must have a university offer to receive an offer to go to college but neither offer is a guarantee of the other. You need to attend the University of Melbourne to attend most colleges, however some colleges accept students attending other universities, click here to find out more about which colleges accept non-University of Melbourne students.

What if I don’t have my VTAC number when I apply?

Your college of first preference must have your VTAC number. If you make the application prior to receiving this number you MUST remember to send it in as soon as you receive it. A VTAC number consists of 8 digits and a letter eg: 89309078L Note: If you have already sent your college of first preference your university offer you are not required to send in a VTAC number.

How does my college of first preference communicate with applicants?

Most colleges communicate by email, but please check with your college of first preference.  Your college of first preference will provide regular updates so it is important to keep an eye out for emails. It is possible that emails will go to Junk so add colleges to your list of safe senders. Please provide your personal email rather than your school email accounts.

Why does the application ask about other preferences?

 You can only apply to one college. You are required to list colleges in order of preference. You must list all 11 colleges.  The college of first preference receives your application. The other colleges may see your application if you are unsuccessful at your college of first preference.

Can I change my first preference after I have sent in my supporting documents?

 Yes, as long as it is before 1 November, but please select your preferences carefully. Whilst we can change your preferences once for you, it is much easier to get it right the first time. If you want to change the order of your preferences, please contact your College of First Preference to request the change. First you must ring the college you want to change to and ask if they will accept your application then email your request to your college of first preference and enquiries@colleges.unimelb.edu.au. Please understand that we are extremely busy during applications time and your request may take a few days to be processed. You will be informed once your request has been processed. Please note that we can only change your first preference, not the rest of your preferences.

What supporting documents are required?

Check with the college of First Preference, but generally you need to have the following ready: Initially

  • Two passport-style photos
  • $75 application fee (non-refundable)
  • A one page reference
  • Mid-year school report

An application is complete once it has

  • End of year results
  • ATAR Score or equivalent
  • University of Melbourne Offer

If already university student colleges also require

  • University results

How do I make the application fee payment?

Each college has a different process, but most will accept cheque, credit card and cash. Check with the college of First Preference before sending your payment.

Do you need my ATAR?

 Your application to college must be submitted before your final results are received. You are responsible for advising the College, that holds your application, of your ATAR score (or equivalent), as soon as it is possible. Contact the college that holds your application as soon as you receive your results. 

What if I have done the IB, OP or ‘A’ Levels?

 If you have done the IB (International Baccalaureate), OP (Overall Position) or ‘A’ levels you must still send the end of year results in. There is conversion charts for IB and OP. Please send  the original score and the converted score to the college that holds your application as soon as you receive your results. More information about ATAR, IB, OP and VTAC offers can be found at http://www.vtac.edu.au/results-offers/y12-atar.html

When do University offers come out?

 Please visit http://futurestudents.unimelb.edu.au/ for further information about the University offers. If you have an offer prior to applying or are already at university you must send your college of first preference a copy of your original offer.

Do Colleges automatically get my university offer?

No, you have to email it to the college that holds your application.

What if I don’t get a University of Melbourne offer?

Although the majority of College places are reserved for University of Melbourne students, some colleges accept students from other institutions. See the above question, ‘Do you accept students from other universities?’.

When do applications close?

All colleges have different closing dates, to make sure that your application is considered we recommend applying as early as possible. Our recommendation is to apply before 1 November for Semester 1 applications. Check with the college of your first preference regarding their official closing date. For applications for Semester 2 entry, applications will close when colleges are full. We encourage you to apply before June to ensure your application is considered. There are only a limited number of places available for Semester 2 entry and we recommend that you look into alternative options in case you are not offered a college place.

When all of the supporting documents are due?

VTAC results are released on 15 December and the University offer will be made to most applicants in January. As soon as you get your VTAC results (ATAR) and your University offer you must send it in. Please understand that you will be disadvantaged by not sending in required documents.

Do I have to be interviewed?

Yes. The interview process enables you to talk about what you have done, what you value and what you want to do with the opportunities that come from being at College. We consider the interview as the most important part of the application process.

When are the interviews conducted?

Please check with the college of your First Preference when they conduct their interviews.

Where are the interviews held

 All interviews are held at the college that has invited you for an interview. If you cannot make it to a face to face interview most colleges can arrange a phone or Skype interview, please check with the college of your First Preference.

What if I am overseas?

 Although a face-to-face interview is preferable, colleges do not expect overseas students to travel to Melbourne to attend. In this situation you are most likely able to book a Skype or phone interview, but please check with the college of your First Preference.

Financial Assistance/Scholarships/Bursaries

What is financial assistance?

Financial assistance is a financial aid package consisting of a combination of scholarships, bursaries and employment (employment is generally only available to returning students).

Where do the funds come from?

Bursaries and scholarships are generally made possible through the generosity of college alumni and members of the College and wider community.

What sort of financial assistance is available?

Financial assistance options include scholarships, bursaries and employment with a total value of over $3.5 million across 11 colleges. Check with the college of your first preference for financial assistance options available to you.

Who can apply?

Any student who believes they will require financial assistance to come to college should apply. Financial assistance applications are made in addition to your college application and made directly to the college of your first preference. Many of the colleges’ scholarships and bursaries are awarded on the basis of financial need; however, there are also a few that have specific criteria. Criteria for scholarships may include academic excellence, your home location (e.g. Tasmania or rural Australia), specific faculties and Indigenous Australians. Check with the college of your preference for financial assistance and scholarship options available to you.

What are local Comparative Costs?

The University of Melbourne has compiled the information below for students. Tuition fees, academic support, social activities, transport/car expenses, private health cover and other non standard expenses have not been included in this estimate. Find the summary here.

How do I apply?

You must apply for college residence first before submitting your financial assistance application. Please note that your application for financial assistance is made in addition to your college application and submitted directly to the college of first preference. Check the website of the college of your first preference to see what is required to apply and how to apply.


When will I know if I have been successful?

You will be contacted by the college that holds your application within a few days of the release of University of Melbourne offers. It is very important that, at this time, you are able to access the email address you have given when applying and respond promptly.

If I don’t get an offer can I ask why?

We understand that not receiving an offer can be very disappointing. Please understand that colleges do not give out specific information on why you have not been selected for an offer. In many cases, it is simply not a question that can be answered. You might well have done everything right, and been just the kind of person the college would have loved to have. Colleges meet lots of truly wonderful applicants each year and, if there are many more applicants than places, colleges are simply unable to offer places to everyone they would like to.

What if I’m unsuccessful?

But I am committed to Melbourne University/RMIT/Monash/ACU, where else can I live?

We have put together a list of other possible places you could contact for accommodation.

Casual Accommodation

Do Colleges offer casual accommodation?

The residential Colleges are occasionally able to provide accommodation of a short-term, casual nature to non-students. Find more information on our website.


Can I host my conference at the colleges?

A number of the residential colleges are able to provide a full in-house conferencing service and a number of spaces ideal for seminars, workshops and conference events large and small. Find more information on our website.