The decisions made by senior high school students to apply to university, and their subsequent progress through the offer and acceptance of a place, and then enrolment, have raised questions of access and equity about the process. Comparisons within metropolitan government schools (N=13,684) acknowledge that proportions of applications and offers vary by school system (state, catholic and independent) and location (rural, urban). Explanations of bias in the proportions of students going on to university depend on the stage considered. Students at some schools were less likely to apply, and others were less likely to accept an offer, or defer. Apparent effects of socio-economic status and school type can be understood in relation to aggregated high school achievement scores (taking into account that more girls go on to university). Gender issues within the school social context raised further questions about the role of course preferences in the decision process.