What Are the Alternative Pathways to University?

What Are the Alternative Pathways to University?

Many students are unaware of the alternative pathways to university. Knowing about these university pathways can save a lot of stress and heartache. 

The traditional way to get into university is to complete year 12 and gain an ATAR score that meets the minimum requirements for your chosen degree. Not achieving the ATAR you need to get into your first choice can be extremely disappointing. Other students miss out on the degree they want because they don’t have the right prerequisites. Some don’t finish Year 12 at all and feel limited in their future career choices.

If any of these situations apply to you, don’t despair. There are many pathways into uni and a range of programs to help students find the right degree. 

Top Alternative Pathways to University 

  • Early Entry Schemes 

Most universities now offer early entry schemes that assess students’ overall academic performance, rather than just their ATAR score. This is ideal for those who don’t perform well in exams or who are hindered due to circumstances beyond their control. 

Some of these schemes release their offers before the final exams, relieving much pressure and stress. Another option for those concerned about their exam performance is the use of adjustment factor points. Students can apply to have extra points added to their ATAR based on their living situation, school location and overall performance in Year 12.

  • Enabling Courses

Enabling courses are short courses, offered over one or two semesters. These university pathways are designed to help students develop the foundational skills required for academic study. 

Enabling courses are popular with students who didn’t complete year 12 or achieve the marks they needed. On successful completion, students can gain entry to their degree of choice, and may receive academic credit for their study. 

  • Bridging Courses 

Bridging courses are available for students who didn’t get the ATAR they wanted or to fill in subject knowledge gaps for those who haven’t completed the required subjects. 

STEM degrees in particular often require students to study specific subjects in Year 12. Students can take courses in a range of subject areas to help them catch up and prepare them for higher education.

  • Outreach Programs

Larger universities now offer outreach services as one of their university entry pathways to help students with additional needs gain entry. Outreach programs are similar to enabling courses but they provide more support.

This is a good option for students who need more individual attention as classes are smaller. Some universities work with community groups to improve access to outreach programs in remote areas.

  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test

Students who are over 19 can sit a Special Tertiary Admissions Test to gain entry to university. The test assesses critical thinking and analytical skills. The test score is used instead of an ATAR when applying for a degree. 

There is a multiple choice and written version of the test. Students can choose which version they’d like to complete, but some universities require both. This is a good option for students who are confident in their academic skills and don’t want to complete an enabling or bridging course. 

  • Vocational Education and Training (VET)

TAFE is one of the most popular pathways into uni. This option allows students to sample a career or area of study before committing to a higher degree. Many universities have an arrangement allowing students who are completing a Certificate III or IV to continue to the diploma level and then transition to a university course. 

Students who haven’t gained the required ATAR often choose this pathway, as well as those who are still weighing up their choices. Most universities will give credit for prior study at the diploma level.

How a Tutor Can Help With Pathways Into Uni

All alternative pathways to university require students to meet certain standards. A tutor can assist high school students to boost their overall academic performance for early entry schemes and build the foundational skills needed for enabling courses. They can help fill knowledge gaps for bridging courses and work with students to hone their critical thinking and analytical skills for the Special Tertiary Admissions test. 

Our tutors assess each student’s skills and requirements to build a learning program specifically for their needs. We can help you decide which of these university pathways is best for you, and work with you to achieve your goals.

Contact us for a free consultation.