Your pathway to university
Whether you’re looking to refresh your skills, receive a promotion or go down an entirely new career path, university is a great way to achieve your goals. But finding your way into university can be confusing, especially if you’ve been out of the education field for a while.
Here is some helpful information about gaining entry to university if you haven’t recently completed Year 12.
Getting started – entry criteria
To be accepted into a university course, you will need to meet certain entry criteria. These are essentially to show you’re capable of fulfilling the requirements of the course.
Entry to most undergraduate courses is based on two criteria:
satisfying entry requirements, like subject prerequisites
having a selection rank high enough to gain admission to the course
Entry requirements vary between courses and institutions, so it’s worth looking around and finding the degree that suits your circumstances best
How to meet the entry criteria
Admission using previous studies/qualifications
Year 12 studies are a common way to gain entry to a university course. If you have completed Year 12 your results remain valid indefinitely. So even if you finished high school years ago, you can still use the results to be considered for admission. If you don’t have a valid Year 12 result, don’t stress. There are other options.
Many institutions will consider Vocational Education Training (VET) studies to satisfy entry requirements. This means completing qualifications such as a certificate IV, diploma or advanced diploma at a TAFE or registered training organisation (RTO).
Often, universities will have formal partnership agreement with VET providers, and you’ll be able to use certain programs for direct entry or articulate into a course. However even if there is no formal partnership between a TAFE and university, you can still apply for admission through your relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC, UAC or QTAC).
Institutions may also take into account professional or paraprofessional qualifications such as hospital-based nursing certificates or professional body awards that require examination.
A final tip, if you have already studied at university level or with a recognised partner, you may be eligible for credit towards your degree. Credited units replace units you would otherwise study, so you can finish your course earlier
Learn more about TAFE and other VET studies
Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)
The Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) is a great option if you have no formal education qualifications and you’re applying to university on the basis of alternative entry or mature age qualifications.
The STAT is a two-hour, multiple choice, aptitude test that helps you demonstrate your potential for tertiary study. It’s widely accepted and used by many Australian institutions – so there’s a good chance a STAT result will improve your chances of selection for your course. Also, low STAT results are ignored, so sitting it can only be an advantage to your application.
All states and territories regularly hold STAT tests. In NSW and Queensland, you can register to sit the next test in your state or territory through your relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre (UAC or QTAC), and in Victoria you can register through ACER.
Learn more about STAT
Work and life experience
In some cases the skills and experience you have gained through work can be converted by the Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC, UAC or QTAC) into a selection rank. This can then be used to gain entry to university courses. You’ll need to provide an official statement from your employer confirming your employment and the duties undertaken, and will usually have had to spend at least six months in full-time (or equivalent) employment.
The rank you receive will be based on skill level associated with your employment and the length of time you were employed in that role. Also, the work you have done previously does not necessarily have to be in an area related to your proposed field of study.
A final note, as well as helping you gain entry, you may be able to gain credit towards your degree for your work and life experience through recognition of prior learning (RPL).
When you don’t meet the entry requirements, successful completion of an admission pathway can provide eligibility for your chosen course. They include associate degrees, diplomas, or enabling courses like certificates or tertiary preparation programs, and can be completed through ACU, ACU College or TAFE/Registered Training Organisations.
Another option is to enrol in a similar degree and then transfer to your preferred choice later. For example, if you don’t think you’ll meet the entry requirements for the Bachelor of Education (Primary) or the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary), the Bachelor of Educational Studies is an excellent alternative pathway. And as you’ll receive credits for most if not all completed units, it won’t take you any longer to complete your degree. Of course, this is still subject to meeting progression and non-academic requirements.
Please note that transfers are based on academic merit, and can be very competitive, so it’s a good idea to talk to the university before you take this approach.
Learn more about admission pathways
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