If you've looked at our blog post on how to choose a university, you'll know that some of the factors about the different universities that you should consider in your decision making process are their locations, degrees offered, rankings, employment prospects, and the ATAR cut-off of their degrees. As the University of Wollongong (UOW) and Western Sydney University (UWS) (formerly the University of Western Sydney) are two of the most popular and similarly competitive universities in New South Wales, we just had to do a comparison between them! We've done UNSW or USYD, and UTS or MQ, so it was only natural for us to do the next two most popular universities amongst our students. We're not going to say which university is better, that is up for you to decide. However, we are going to show the various aspects of both universities in each category.
Both universities offer a very wide range of degrees, with many offered by both of them. However, even for the same degree, there may still be some key differences between them (such as the variety of majors, the courses available, etc.). Of course, there are still some degrees which only one of them may offer. Why not have a browse on UOW's and UWS' course search websites?
The ranking of a university may be an indication of their reputation and performance. In 2015/16, QS World University Rankings ranked University of Wollongong at 243, while Western Sydney University was ranked further behind at 651+. Remember though, rankings are usually influenced by many factors other than the quality of their undergraduate programs; they probably should not be used as definite indicators of which university is better for you.
Location & Public Transport
Do not underestimate how important this is! You'll be travelling to your university nearly every week for many years to come. Both universities may be slightly challenging to get to depending on where you live in Sydney. It is important to note that both universities have multiple campuses and which one you would go to would depend on which degree you will be studying.
Nevertheless, to get to UOW's main campus, catching the train may be the most economic and convenient option for you if you don't have a car. It takes about an hour to get to North Wollongong Station from Southern Sydney and around 90 minutes from Sydney Central. There are then free shuttle buses between the station and the university.
UWS is divided into many different campuses rather than having a central campus. Many of its campuses are however connected by Sydney's train network. Have a look here for information on how to get to each campus.
Use the "Plan Your Trip" page on Transport NSW's website if you need extra help (remember, if you’re a local student you're eligible for the Concession Opal card so the prices shown on that page would not be what you would actually pay (yay savings!! :D)).
Employability - Average Salaries
While measuring the employability of different universities is not easy, the average salaries of different universities' graduates are available. By no means are they a perfectly accurate indicator of employability as many factors such as the average ability of the students in a university, the types of degrees completed and the job market conditions are not taken into account. They are more so just for your own interests. This aside, here are the average graduate salaries of both UOW and UWS graduates:
|University||Average Graduate Salary|
|University of Wollongong||$54,470|
|Western Sydney University||$46,188|
Remember though, you yourself largely determines how attractive you are as a potential employee rather than whether you went to UWS or UOW.
Of course, you have to first be able to get into both universities! Although it varies from degree to degree, UOW and UWS have relatively similar ATAR cut-offs.
It may be important for you to know that both universities have bonus point schemes so even if you do not make the ATAR cut-offs, you might still be able to get in! Both universities also have early admission programs which may allow you to be accepted to a university before your HSC exams have even started! Furthermore, there are alternate entry methods to both universities if you are unable to be accepted immediately or decide to enrol into university later on in life.
Lastly, remember that both universities' undergraduate degrees are of a high level and if you're currently in the position of having to decide between the two, just remember, both universities are of a relatively similar standard so don't pressure yourself too hard to make the correct decision!
Jack Zheng | N° 47