Tens of thousands of school-leavers have filed for special entry to university next year. 

Reports say 70 per cent of over 45,000 high school graduates in Victoria have applied for “consideration of difficult circumstances’’ to enter university with “bonus points’’ added to their ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank).

Many are citing COVID-19 chaos as a source of “difficult circumstances’’ and medical exemptions.

In NSW one in every three applicants to university next year has sought special entry through the Educational Access Scheme (EAS), which adjusts students’ ATAR scores to compensate for personal or financial distress.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino says students should not worry if they did not achieve the results they wanted.

“Your study scores, your ATAR, do not define you,’’ he said.

“There are many, many paths to success.’

In NSW, the state’s Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) has already made 15,000 early offers to students for university courses, based on recommendations from their schools. 

The number of this type of offers is 25 per cent higher this year.

Authorities are also reporting a spike in the number of students seeking to study medicine, which some suggest could be linked to their experiences during the last two years of a global pandemic.