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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

Alternate pathways into study

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 and you can register to sit the next test in your state or territory through your relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC, UAC or QTAC).

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).

Admission pathways

When you don’t meet the entry requirements, successful completion of an admission pathway can provide eligibility into 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.

Learn more about admission pathways 

Think you’re ready to apply to university? Explore our courses.

Related stories

Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright @ Australian Catholic University 1998-2018 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G