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Increasing your chances of getting in

If you’re wondering whether there’s a way to increase your chances of entry into your course, rest assured that there are many steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of getting into your dream course. The cardinal rule is to check the entry requirements for any courses you are interested in before you apply so you are well aware of any cut-offs, prerequisites and additional selection methods that you need to meet.

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You can increase your chances of getting in by doing the following:

Choose courses with a variety of entry requirements and selection methods

When you are applying, hedge your bets and apply to some courses with higher entry requirements and some with lower entry requirements. If you’re able to nominate a range of preferences, try to choose as many as you can. The more courses you apply for, the more options you will have.

Try as hard as you can to meet the standard selection methods

As a first port of call, try your best to meet the standard entry requirements so you don’t have to resort to the alternative ones (save these as a last resort). Check the standard course entry requirements for your field thoroughly and work hard to meet the required cut-off; complete prerequisite subjects (or bridging courses) to ensure you have the assumed knowledge; and take steps to gain the previous qualifications and work experience required.

Prepare yourself for tests and interviews

These are usually required in the more competitive courses (medicine and creative arts, for example), so you might be up against some pretty stiff competition. This is your chance to shine, so the more you prepare the more confident you will be. Practice tests and mock interviews are always helpful.

Keep creating and practising

If your course requires you to perform an audition or submit a portfolio with samples of your work, it is recommended that you get started early on developing and refining your skills. This way, when the time comes, you will be ready to shine on stage or present your best work.

Have your prior learning recognised

Many institutions recognise prior work and life experience in place of academic requirements through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). If your previous experience is deemed to be ‘equivalent’ to the standard entry requirements, you may be able to apply. Think about how you could demonstrate that you have the experience or knowledge despite not having the qualifications, and don’t hesitate to ask your institution if you’re unsure of anything.

Take advantage of alternative selection methods

Some institutions might offer additional selection methods such as tests. These can bolster your application and set you apart from the other applicants, so take advantage of them wherever possible.

Investigate special entry schemes

Sometimes special entry schemes and alternative selection methods are available to students who have suffered from disadvantage (such as living in a rural area). Those eligible can gain special consideration and may have access to special schemes and different methods of selection to place them on an equal footing.

Work your way up the qualifications ladder

If you don’t meet the entry requirements for the qualification you want, you can usually enter a lower-level qualification and work your way up into your course (sometimes with credit). For example, you can enter an undergraduate degree through a VET pathway such as an advanced diploma or a masters degree through a lower-level postgraduate qualification such as a graduate diploma.

Gain work experience

Work experience may a set requirement for your course or it may be an alternative method of selection. Either way, industry experience can really boost your chances of getting into a course. Be sure to mention it in any interviews, essays and information forms. In addition, even in courses without interviews, significant work experience may be used to supplement standard entry requirements if you do not quite meet the academic criteria.

Be persistent

Get in touch with course coordinators to ask any questions you might have about the course and application process. They can give you insider advice and will no doubt appreciate your initiative and enthusiasm. Don’t forget that many decisions about who to admit are made by course coordinators, so be sure to make a good impression. If you miss out, they may be able to give you feedback on why and tell you what you can do to improve your chances next time around.

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