When is the best time of year to study at university?

Do you get a burst of energy during summer, or prefer the cosiness of the winter months? If you’re considering starting a course this year but don’t know when to enrol, this should help.   

When is the best time of year to study


Gone are the days when you need to start uni in February and finish in October. Through Open Universities Australia, you can join a course intake at four different times during the year, which gives you the flexibility to study when you want instead of when it suits your uni. 

But is there a month or a season when it makes the most sense to start a course?

Let’s look at the study periods that are available through us so you can figure out which one works for you. 

Study period 1: February to May

(aka our autumn study period)

Is this you?

You’re still on a new year high and keen to follow through on a career-related resolution. Plus, you know exactly what you’re interested in studying, and you don’t want to risk missing out on your dream course. 

Why you should choose this study period:

This is our most popular time of the year to enrol because it’s when the largest variety of courses are available, so it’s definitely the study period for you if you have firm plans. You can choose from over 1000 online courses offered by universities like Curtin, La Trobe and the University of Tasmania

If you recently finished Year 12 but didn’t get the right ATAR for uni, this is also an ideal moment to contact us (though you can reach out at any time of the year), because we can help you get into open enrolment subjects that lead directly into qualifications. You might feel like it’s too late to catch up with peers who have already been accepted into uni—but there’s still time.  

The best reasons to start now:

  • You can choose from qualifications and subjects that aren’t available at any other time of the year.
  • You can start and finish your course the same time as friends who are studying on campus. 
  • You’re well rested after the summer break and ready to begin the year fresh—which is a perfect mindset for hitting the books.

Closing date for enrolments:

If you’d like to start a course during this study period, you’ll need to enrol before 18th February 2024. 

Note that some universities have different closing dates, and it’s best to check the details on our key dates page to be sure. 

Study period 2: May to August

(aka our winter study period)

Is this you?

Between work, family, sports, overseas holidays or [insert hobby here] you know you’re too busy at the start of the year to commence study. It’s something you’d prefer to focus on when the weather cools down and you’ve settled into your routine.   

Why you should choose this study period:

It depends where you’re based in the country, but many students say they’re more productive during this study period because they’re not tempted outside by the sunny weather—it’s easier to hole up in front of the heater with a lecture and a cup of tea.

Starting study when you’re more inclined to concentrate can lead to better grades and a better overall uni experience. 

The best reasons to start now:

  • If your year isn’t going to plan, this study period gives you the chance to change gears and pivot into a university course.
  • You can knuckle down and focus when the weather is cold and you’re stuck indoors anyway.
  • More and more qualifications are becoming available during this study period, though it’s most likely you’ll start with a subject if you enrol at this time. This has its advantages, because it lets you ease into uni without committing to a degree. You can then proceed into the qualification with full academic credit once applications open again. 

Closing date for enrolments:

Enrol by 19th May 2024 to start studying this winter.

Study period 3: August to November

(aka our spring study period)

Is this you? 

It’s the middle of winter, and you’ve had a light bulb moment. It’s clear studying at uni will get you where you want to be in life; but you don’t want to wait until January to make it happen.

Or maybe you enrolled in a degree at the start of the year and you’ve realised it isn’t a good fit. You don’t want to waste the time you’ve spent studying, but you’d like to move into a course more suited to you. 

Why you should choose this study period:

As our mid-year study period, this is the second most popular time to enrol through Open Universities Australia—and a perfect opportunity to change the trajectory of your year. Most universities make their qualifications available for another major intake, but you can also enrol in a variety of subjects and short courses. 

The best reasons to start now:

  • You can transfer into a degree that’s a better fit for you if you’ve found yourself in a course that isn’t quite right.
  • You don’t have to wait until the new year to accomplish a goal. If you enrol at this time, you’ll finish your first subject before the year is over.
  • Your winter doldrums are almost behind you, and spring is in the air—which can bring with it a whole new rise in motivation! 

Closing date for enrolments:

Most enrolments close on 18th August 2024, but again, you’ll want to check the key dates for your university to be sure.  

Study period 4: November to February

(aka our summer study period)

Is this you?

You’re impatient to get a head start on the new year, and like the idea of kicking off study when other things in your life are winding down. 

Why you should choose this study period:

While some people will balk at the idea of studying over summer, it can be a smart move. You can fast track your degree by completing a sneaky subject while everyone else is sunning themselves by the pool. Come February when they’re ready to start, you’ll already be a subject ahead.

Plus you can study while basking in all the vitamin D you can handle, which has been proven to improve your brain function.   

The best reasons to start now:

  • You can get ahead on your new year plans—and accumulate the credit you need to graduate earlier.
  • You can free yourself up for a busy work period or holiday during another part of the year (because who wants to go elbow to elbow with other tourists during the silly season anyway, right?).
  • Since fewer students start now, you generally get higher student-to-teacher ratios, which means you may enjoy extra face time and support from online teaching staff. 

Closing date for enrolments:

To join this study period, you’ll need to enrol before 17th November 2024. Most online classes will start after the week commencing 25th November. 


Still not sure when or what you want to study this year? You should book a (free!) call with one of our locally based student advisors. They're happy to offer unbiased advice.


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