For the first time in Australia, and possibly the world, students seeking a university place in Victoria will apply to the state Tertiary Admissions Centre by punching in numbers on a telephone, writes Geoff Maslen.
Instead of filling out lengthy forms listing the courses in order of preference and then relying on Australia Post, prospective students will simply dial a ten-digit number. The number gives applicants access to menus for a preference list of up to eight courses at the state's tertiary institutions.
Information provided by the students is protected through the use of a personal identification number. A call costs 50 cents a minute and the admissions centre estimates the average cost will amount to $5 as students file their initial application, amend it in the light of their results, and then accept or reject any offer made.
More than 60,000 would-be university students are expected to use the system this year. The centre, however, has warned applicants against using mobile or cordless phones. It says that data transmitted through such devices may not always be received accurately and that, anyway, calls made on mobile phones cost more.