SYDNEY, Dec 16 - More than 55,000 students received their ATARs (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) at 9am on Friday, following the release of the HSC results on Thursday.

While male students did better in the top-tier results, female students did better on average, according to Universities Admissions Centre (UAC)

Of the 46 students who received the top ATAR of 99.95, 33 were male and 13 were female, however the average ATAR for boys was 66.55 while it was 70.45 for girls, said UAC.

The median ATAR for 2016 was 68.65 this year, slightly down on 2015, with a total of 55,956 Year 12 students receiving an ATAR, just 220 more than last year.

"It's important that students don't discount their chances of getting into a course based solely on their ATAR and last year's cut-off,' said Kim Paino, General Manager of Marketing and Engagement at UAC on Friday.

She said some students may feel like there is no chance of studying next year because of a lower than expected ATAR but there are many other options available.

Paino says some universities have foundation or pathways programs that can lead to entry into a degree course.

More than 77,000 Year 12 students sat the final-year exams in NSW this year.