International Baccalaureate students will get early offers from a number of Sydney universities based on their predicted results, up to three weeks ahead of the new December 21 round of offers for HSC students.
Macquarie University will make unconditional offers to IB students on December 7 based on their predicted final results provided by schools, just weeks after their exams end on November 17 and well before IB results are released on January 5.
The University of Sydney will also make conditional offers to IB students by December 1 based on their predicted grades, but students will still need to get the minimum IB score for their course and meet any other selection criteria such as interviews or portfolios.
The University of Technology Sydney is also considering bringing in conditional offers for IB students in December but will not have the process in place this year, a spokesman for the university said.
A spokeswoman for Macquarie University said it decided to bring in the early offers for IB students following the University Admissions Centre's announcement earlier this year that many HSC students will now get university offers in a new December round instead of the January 12 round.
"After consultation with schools who teach the IB Diploma, we have introduced an early offer program which is being implemented for 2018 entry so that IB students are not disadvantaged by receiving their final results after the HSC cohort," the spokeswoman said.
"Offers in this round will be made on the basis of IB predicted grades ... this is a process currently used by other Australian universities to make IB offers.
"Because of the nature of the IB and its comprehensive external moderation process, the predictive score enjoys a high level of reliability."
More than 2400 students across Australia are sitting their final IB exams.
In NSW, where the IB is not offered at government schools, about 547 students at 17 private schools are sitting IB exams instead of the HSC.
IB co-ordinator for NSW and the ACT and director of learning services for the HSC and IB curricula at St Paul's Grammar School, Antony Mayrhofer, said he expects that all universities will eventually bring forward offer dates for IB students.
"Other universities have contacted me and I've been in contact with other universities, they're talking to me about how they can make this happen," Mr Mayrhofer said.
"Universities are competing more for students."
Madeleine Bishop, 17, who is doing the IB at St Paul's, said she is applying to study a combined bachelor of law and bachelor of arts at Macquarie University, the University of Technology Sydney and the University of Wollongong.
"I was wanting to attend Macquarie University before I heard about the early offers program but I think it's a really good opportunity to encourage IB students to apply and also shows that the university cares about the IB program," Madeleine said.
Mr Mayrhofer said universities often want to attract IB students because of the nature of the program.
"Independent studies show IB students do better in their first year of university than non-IB students because the IB is designed as a pre-uni course while the HSC is designed for everyone," he said.