3. Alternative Pathways to Tertiary Education

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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.

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.

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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.