Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Studies: Part 1

Over the past 20 years, pathways to tertiary education have expanded dramatically. This has significant implications for students who are both home educated and schooled students.

This is the first of four blog posts on the subject of alternative pathways for home educated students. Be sure to subscribe to read them all to be fully informed on many of your options.

One of the common negative comments heard by the home education community is that home educating your child will rob them of a successful future. This could not be further from the truth.

There is no specific limitation preventing a home educated child gaining access to higher education and a satisfying career.

There are many pathways to careers, and ways to gain access to relevant university courses, TAFE  and other qualifications. Completing year 11-12 in any state or territory in Australia is but one of those pathways; some home educated students may choose to attend mainstream school for years 11 and 12.

Photo by Anastasiya Gepp on

It is not the strongest … that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.

Charles Darwin –

In this series I will be looking at some, but not all pathways into tertiary education.

However, home educated students can enter tertiary studies in any number of other ways. Here are a few of those entry doors:

A TAFE Certificate qualification, studied on campus or online, through TAFE or another private RTO (Registered Training Organisation) can be a good transition from home education to a career, or a pathway to a University degree. A student 15 years or older can apply for many courses without any prerequisites, simply by applying online directly with a course provider. See the Ed Consult Blog for NSW TAFE for more information. Always inquire about any government funded placements when enrolling, especially if you are a health care card holder.

If your student wants to complete a university qualification they will need to determine which pathway to use. Once your student has identified the desired course and the university, consult the Course Handbook which is available on the website of the University, and look at what first year subjects are studied and any assumed knowledge, in order to identify ways of demonstrating the student’s competence. You may contact the university entry administration and discuss your situation with them. Ask for a contact in the specific faculty to talk directly to the Head of Department about prerequisites that that particular course may require. This is also an opportunity to show a student’s portfolio of related work as a simple entry in without any other requirements.

The following options are but a few of the other possible pathways. In my experience of tertiary education, the administrators don’t necessarily know all the answers and can give poor advice, especially as an alternative pathways candidate. Always check with the faculty directly on the requirements.

Most institutions offer alternative entry to applicants who do not meet the usual admission requirements. When considering your application, institutions may take into account the following:

  • Distance education and curriculum providers may provide completion certificates
  • Tertiary preparation courses
  • TAFE courses also offering pathways to university
  • Open University units
  • Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT 1 results
  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test or STAT results
  • Alternative entry schemes and programs which are provided by the universities themselves
  • Professional/paraprofessional qualifications
  • Employment experience
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

It is really important that you check if any of these options are accepted before choosing this pathway for the particular university course that the student wants to pursue. Ask lots of questions and share your learning with administrators if you think they are giving you the wrong information. Be Brave, be bold but be kind too, and you could be helping fellow home educators who come after you.

Subscribe to Ed Consult blog to stay up to date with this special on Pathways to Tertiary Education series.

Ed Consult would like to thank Beverley Paine, Susan de Wall, Zsa Zsa Kiss, and Tamara Kidd for their support and input into this research project. Thank you.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators and Parents Across Australia.

6 thoughts on “Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Studies: Part 1

  1. Pingback: Research shows limitations in the HSC for Student Opportunities Due to Simply Being Poor | Ed Consult

  2. Pingback: 2. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education | Ed Consult

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  4. Pingback: 3. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education | Ed Consult

  5. Pingback: 4. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education | Ed Consult

  6. Pingback: Home Educators Leading the Way | Ed Consult

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