Anxiety of Year 12 Students Wholly Unjustified. An ATAR is NOT Necessary for Tertiary Studies.

The Victorian Premier, Mr Andrews, whose eldest son is in Year 12, said the Victorian Government was committed to ensuring all students were able to get an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR).

“It is my aim,” he said. “If they can get an ATAR, if not within this calendar year, then very soon thereafter. We’ve got six or eight weeks at the end of the year that we can catch up.”

Victorian Premier Mr Andrews

This is where the ignorance of our politicians and education leadership about what education can look like is failing Australian teenagers today causing wholly unnecessary stress and anxiety.

Students do not need an ATAR to start university

With only an average of 25% of all university admissions utilising the ATAR system, clearly 75% of successful applications to university studies demonstrates that there are other ways for year 12 students of 2020, to enter university without the school ATAR system.

Ed Consult has published a comprehensive list of alternative pathways. If you are looking for information on university access, then start right here

Whether you have had your year 12 studies interrupted, or are simply home educated, there are many alternative pathways to start your tertiary education studies. There is no need to repeat year 12 as suggested by the well meaning but ill informed Victoria Premier, Mr Andrews.


Further invaluable information for alternative pathways to tertiary studies in Australia.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

3. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This is the third blog in the series on alternative pathways for entry into Tertiary education. To get the full story, click on the links below.

Open University

Many home educated students enroll and study online through Open University. Open University has no prerequisites for many of its units. You can complete a full degree through Open Universities or study several units and then use them to apply for entry to a degree at your chosen university. The number of units necessary may vary according to the subjects studied and the academic results obtained.

Subjects studied at Open University may even give credit for units in the degree you choose to switch to. The student is also eligible for Fee Help or HECS Help when they apply for an entire degree but not for single subjects, which average between approximately $800-$1400 per subject.

Sitting an Exam

A home educated student can choose to sit exams as a way to demonstrate their academic capacity to cope with the course requirements. They could take the SAT such as is offered through Melbourne University for example or with the STAT exams.

One alternative way to get into the course of your choice directly is through the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT 1 is a general test of literacy, numeracy and general reasoning skills accepted for USA college admissions and costs around US$52 with testing venues around Australia. If your student has completed the SAT 1 exam, they will need to manually submit a certified copy of the results to the state’s university admissions centre. As always, please check with the admission centre if your particular university will accept the SAT scores as entry.

The Australian Special Tertiary Admissions Test or STAT exam is a two-hour Multiple Choice test which evaluates skills associated with verbal and quantitative reasoning. The cost is around $150 however do check first if this is an accepted qualification before relying on it for entry into your student’s chosen course. Not all universities will accept this exam for entry.

An exam such as these may be an opportunity for a home educated student to demonstrate to themselves that they have the right skills ready for University level study if they have never sat a formal exam before. The exams are a can be an expensive way to help a students decide on the right path for them, and give them entry into their chosen field of study.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators and Parents Across Australia.

2. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education

TAFE and TPCs

This is the second blog in the series on alternative pathways for entry into Tertiary education. To get the full story, click on the links below.

For home educators who purchase a complete curriculum some providers offer accredited courses to transition to university. Confirm which universities accept these courses before committing to this pathway.

Tertiary Preparation Courses or TPCs can be completed through TAFE, other Registered Training Authorities or at universities, and will provide students with an ATAR. The ATAR is the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It may interest you to know that a mere quarter of all university admissions now use the ATAR system so clearly the majority of uni students are using alternative pathways. Not just home educated students.

TPCs are usually designed for applicants who haven’t completed Year 12 at school. Minimum age requirements may apply and the length of these courses differs between institutions. For admission purposes, most institutions will consider the tertiary preparation courses offered by other institutions. You are strongly advised, however, to check which courses each institution considers.

As an example, TAFE NSW offers a TPC, teaching

  • How to apply ethical practices in your studies.
  • How to read and respond to written text for further study.
  • Core essentials in mathematics, science, humanities and English studies, and more.

The Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation is available to study full-time, part-time or through flexible learning options.

On completion, the student will be awarded the Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC), a qualification recognised by the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), NSW universities and some interstate universities.

By way of example, from TAFE in NSW:

Western Sydney University applicants, for TPC graduates gaining a TES (Tertiary Entrance Score) of 168 out of 300 or higher, and for Charles Sturt University applicants (a TES of 157 out of 300 or higher), have guaranteed entry into many bachelor degree programs.

Some universities even offer a TPC for free such as Charles Darwin University in the Northern Territory. So keep an eye out for savings like these.

Video 2 in a mini series designed to assist home educating parents transition their students to University

So keep in mind that each TAFE or RTO may have specific relationships with universities around the country that make the pathway clearer for your student.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators and Parents Across Australia.

University of Victoria Launches a New Way to Study Full Time. The Block Method.

There has been an interesting change at how courses are to be delivered at the University of Victoria by 2022. They call it the block model and in reality it would likely give better outcomes for the student. It has already been successfully trialled overseas and is now coming to Australia.

Usually a full time student would be taking 4 different subjects over a whole semester each with their own assessments and exams due around the same time causing a lot of pressure on the learner.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Dawkins said The VU Way is a new way of doing university.

“It is a future blueprint for universities that offer a combination of vocational and higher education learning. The Block Mode is a truly student-centric, student-success–led model.

“It offers a unique and empowering learning experience to ensure our students are given every chance to succeed on their own terms, during and after study. In this way, the Block Mode fulfils our vision of creating opportunity and success for any student from any background.”

The block method, compresses a semester’s worth of study of a single subject into a 4 week block with all assessments and exams completed within that period before moving on to the next 4 weeks with the next subject. The block method means you will only ever be studying a single subject at any one time.

That sounds pretty good. A worthy question would be is it possible to do the block method part time? If so, you could organise your life around doing a single subject with 4 weeks of intense study followed by 4 or 8 or even more time off until you tackle the next subject. That would make for an interesting work/study/family/life balance.

For more information on how the Block Method will work click here. To watch a video embedded in Facebook from Victoria University click here.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Research shows limitations in the HSC for Student Opportunities Due to Simply Being Poor

Click here to read the Sydney Morning Herald article HSC subject hierarchy can lower students’ horizons, says study. Every subject in the NSW HSC program is scaled in preprogrammed ways in order to determine an ATAR number, rating every student into a single reference point for convenient administration of universities’ application processes. Every student receives a ranking in relation to every other student firstly in relation to their classmates at school and then in relation to their cohort in the state to determine their future path.

The state’s most advantaged students have better access to high-status, high-scaling HSC subjects, new research has found – raising concerns that limited, low-status curriculum offerings are causing poorer students to lower their aspirations.

Jordan Baker – Sydney Morning Herald December 13, 2019

The trouble is that there has been a schism opening up where schools with a higher socio-economic status of students are taking on subjects that have a more advantageous scaling such as Music Extension and Music 2, higher mathematics, or advanced English and lower socio-economic state schools may not even be able to offer those high scaling subjects with only 1-2 students applying.

This schism gives an immediate ATAR advantage to the rich kids over the poor kids simply because of the way the scaling of the more academically rigorous subjects is calculated. This scaling enables a student at an exclusive private school in Sydney an opportunity to have a higher ATAR simply by enrolling in a high scaling course of Music 2 compared to the student in far west NSW who enrols in Family Studies vocational training.

So upon graduation after 13 years of education, the students are already divided into class structures because of a mathematical formula.

Yet another reason to chose to home educate in the higher levels of highschool. The home educated student can study what they want to study and pursue the future they want to pursue without any impediments imposed upon them by the state education system. Home educated students are truly free.

For more information on how home educated students can enter tertiary education without an ATAR, read this blog post Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education and take advantage of the freedom of choice.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Federal Government Funding Initiatives 2020 Blog Series #2

This is the second blog on Federal Government Funding Initiatives. See here for a list of other blogs in this series as they are published:

Any support for home educators in Australia is useful. Over a few posts Ed Consult will list a series of Federal Government policy changes that may be of use to home educators if we ask. It is also worth noting what is denied to the home educated student compared to their schooled peers.

Here are a few excerpts from the Australian Government Department for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development for 2020.

Increase HELP loan limit for Aviation Courses

“The Australian Government will amend the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to increase the combined Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) loan limit to $150,000 (indexed by CPI) for eligible students undertaking aviation courses at a VET Student Loans approved provider from 1 January 2020. The increased limit recognises that existing loan limits are insufficient to obtain the licences and ratings required for most practical commercial aviation employment. The increase will improve accessibility to courses and better support students and the commercial aviation sector.”

Those home educators looking into aviation as a course for their students should enquire further.

Strengthening Higher Education in Regional Australia—additional support for students and universities

” The Australian Government is providing $134.8 million over four years from 2018‑19 to strengthen higher education enrolment in regional Australia by funding additional study places, scholarships and enhanced facilities to increase accessibility. The measure includes $92.5 million over four years from 2018‑19 to support more students at five regionally focused universities: the University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, the University of Newcastle, Central Queensland University and Federation University Australia. The measure also includes $42.3 million over four years from 2018‑19 to provide:

  • an additional 1,955 scholarships in 2019, valued at up to $18,000 each, for students undertaking Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Health and Agriculture tertiary qualifications—more than doubling the 1,200 scholarships previously available under the Rural and Regional Enterprise Scholarships announced in the 2017-18 Budget to provide $24.0 million over four years from 2017-18 to 2020-21 as part of the Australian Government’s 2016 election commitments;
  • support for additional Regional Study Hubs, for a total 16 Hubs across 22 locations to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia. This builds on the Regional Study Hubs announced in the 2017-18 Budget, which provided $16.7 million from 2018-19 to 2021‑22 to improve access to higher education for students from rural and remote Australia by supporting the establishment and operation of regional study hubs. Such hubs typically support regional students to study courses locally delivered by distance from any Australian university by providing greater access to study support and infrastructure; and
  • support for the development of a National Regional, Rural and Remote Higher Education Strategy, as part of the Government’s response to Emeritus Professor John Halsey’s Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education.

This builds on the Australian Government’s existing commitment of $123.6 million from 2017‑18 to 2021-22 for additional Commonwealth supported places to support expansion into regional areas. The University of the Sunshine Coast will receive funding for an additional 1,200 ongoing bachelor places in 2020, growing to 3,600 ongoing places in 2022, at a new campus in Moreton Bay. The University of Tasmania will receive funding for 1,000 ongoing places from 2019 to support the Northern Tasmanian Transformation Project. Southern Cross University will receive funding for an additional 105 ongoing places in 2019 and 210 ongoing places in 2020. These places, which are expected to grow to 315 ongoing places by 2021, will be utilised in allied health courses at a new campus in Coffs Harbour.”

Australian Apprenticeships—increased support

” The Australian Government has increased support for Australian Apprenticeships, with $27.6 million over four years from 2018‑19 to extend eligibility for the Support for Adult Australian Apprentices Incentive to apprentices aged 21 years and over (the current eligible age is 25 years and over). Extending eligibility to include apprentices aged 21 to 24 increases the support available for all Adult Australian Apprentices and provides a stronger incentive for employers to engage more adult apprentices in areas of skills needs.

To find out more about apprenticeships in Australia, click here.

Follow this blog to find out about other initiatives that are being rolled out by the Federal Government in 2020. Perhaps it is time to start asking for a piece of the pie?

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

4. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education

This is the fourth and final blog in this special series on alternative pathways for entry into Tertiary education. To get the full story, click on this link here.

Many universities offer alternative pathways courses, allowing a student to begin studying at the University of their choice, while gaining admission to their chosen degree through enrolling in single subjects first.

For some degree courses with higher ATAR entry requirements such as medicine of Vet science, it is possible to transfer from a different degree. By choosing appropriate courses in the first semester, and achieving good results, transferring is not difficult. Contacting the institution for advice is recommended.

Since January 2020, both RMIT and UNE have make a policy preventing students under 16 years of age from applying for courses. This change is new and without any justification provided. Subscribe to Ed Consult to keep up to date with changes such as these.

A good investigation into which university to choose should also include a look into feedback from student experience, graduate employment, Graduate Satisfaction and Employer Satisfaction. Some students will just have to use the local university, but if you can choose, than choose with confidence through Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching. Simply type in the course and institution and see what others have to say.

When applying, do also include evidence of any paid or unpaid work experience that is related to the field of study the student is applying for. This could be a letter of reference from the employer or evidence of a period of working in a particular industry through payslips.

Photo by Nick Demou on Pexels.com

Apprenticeships are another pathway, combining TAFE study with paid practical work in order to complete the qualification. Apply directly for an apprenticeship through 1300 Apprenticeship online or apply through an employer such as a local hairdresser or electrician for example. Any certificate IV course is considered as the same level as the final year of high school and is a clear pathway to study at university.

Also, remember to apply for any scholarships or fee reduction opportunities. These are often found on the website of the institution. There are so many opportunities out there, however you may need to ask a lot of questions in order to find out about them.

Home educated students can begin in their early teens to explore careers, and pathways to further education to help them to fulfill their personal talents and aspirations. Non-year 12 certified students can access a wide variety of pathways to enter tertiary education, and to gain qualifications towards any career they choose, and anyone who suggests otherwise is simply wrong.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators and Parents Across Australia.