Figuring out your uni preferences can get pretty confusing. Not only do you have to figure out your dream course, you’ve got to decide on a handful of universities and then settle on your favourite. For anyone who sucks at making decisions and struggles with committing where to put a sticker on their laptop (what if I change my mind later??) uni preferences are a nightmare.

Luckily, we’ve broken down a couple of myths about preferences we’ve heard, which should help you out when you’re putting in your final choices.

 Lie 1: You should aim low on your first preference

This probably seems like a good idea if you feel like you’ve completely flunked your exams. After all, any offer is better than no offer, right? Wrong. Surprise, surprise, your first preference should be your actual first preference–don’t devalue yourself just because you think you won’t get in.

If you’re really worried about your marks, that’s where your second, third, fourth, etc. preferences come in. That’s where your back ups count–definitely not at number one.

It’s easy to get intimated by high cut offs and prestige (think of top uni’s like The Australian National University (ANU)). But don’t undersell yourself and miss the chance of doing an amazing degree at your dream uni just because you were scared of disappointment.

 Lie 2: If you miss out on first round offers, you’ve missed out completely

It’s not unusual to swap around your preferences after first round offers come out. Here’s the thing though, if you didn’t get your top preference on first round, your number one should still be your number one.

There’s no point bumping your dream uni to the bottom of the list; you still might get through on second round (some universities allocate extra spots for second round and places could open up as other people defer or reject their spots). Unless your first preference gave you an offer, you should be looking to keep things pretty solid in your list.

Keep your top spot filled with your number one choice, always.

 Lie 3: If you get an offer, you need to accept it

There’s plenty of options once you get your offer; you can accept, defer or reject it. It’s also possible to accept multiple offers and later only enrol in one university (check out specific uni guidelines on this one).

If you’re not sure, need more time to think or want to see if there’s something else out there for you, don’t think that your only option is to accept your offer; there’s nothing wrong with deferring or choosing to accept and later leaving your degree.

Lie 4: You should go with your friends to uni

I’m not gonna lie to you, making friends at uni can be tough. Before, you and your high school crew had been thrown together all day, every day and uni will probably be your first experience of really needing to make an effort to find people who you click with.

Don’t let this scare you into choosing a uni that all your mates are picking! Letting your friends influence your uni preferences might seem like an easy way to make a decision but at the end of the day it’s you who is going to need to fork out that cash to pay for your degree and you want to make sure it’s a worthwhile experience.

Lie 5: If you don’t get an offer all hope is lost

Not getting an offer is not the end of the world. There are so many backdoors out there that it’s always possible to get into the degree you want. Many unis offer bridging courses and programs to get your foot in the door, so don’t stress if you don’t get the outcome you were hoping for, give your local TAFE or uni student centre a buzz to explore your options.

­­­ANU is one of those universities that is easy to be intimated by. They’re a top uni, have quality research facilities and all-round prestige. Don’t let that stop you though. Like we said, your top preference should always be your number one pick and we don’t blame ya if ANU gets that spot.