Higher education entry requirements

You probably know by now that if you want to get into tertiary education, you will have to meet certain entry requirements, but it's also worth knowing that they can be complicated. There is a wide range of selection criteria that may be used for different courses, as well as for different types of prospective students (school leavers versus mature age, for example). Selection criteria is quite standard in most cases, but certain courses and institutions have additional selection methods or allow certain groups of students who may not meet the standard entry requirements to enter using alternative methods.

In this section we cover:

Standard selection methods

Standard selection methods include the typical academic entry requirements, as well as other additional testing criteria for competitive courses or those that require a high degree of talent. The most common methods used to select students for higher education courses include:

  • cut-off scores
  • prerequisite studies
  • academic history
  • supplementary information forms
  • other methods such as tests, portfolios, auditions and interviews.

Alternative selection methods

Alternative selection methods are used by education providers to assist students who may:

  • otherwise not meet narrow standard selection criteria
  • have been disadvantaged throughout their schooling
  • have other relevant skills and experience that make them a suitable candidate.

Alternative entry criteria

If you don't meet standard entry requirements (whether it's because you didn't receive a high entry score or don't meet other requirements), higher education providers may apply alternative selection methods or criteria to help you enter the course you want.

Alternative entry criteria may include:

  • interview performance
  • relevant experience in the workforce
  • other study completed after school
  • a statement of the applicant's suitability
  • an aptitude test.

Note that rules and criteria for alternative selection methods and schemes will vary between institutions and courses. Check with any institution you are considering before beginning the application process.

Equity schemes

Most higher education providers have special schemes for school leavers who might otherwise find it hard to enter their course due to disadvantage or special circumstances.

Alternative entry schemes are usually available for the following equity groups:

  • people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent
  • people with disability
  • people from non-English-speaking backgrounds (NESB)
  • people from rural or isolated areas
  • people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds
  • people studying in areas that suffer from gender inequality

Students may also be eligible for equity schemes if they have suffered from difficult family circumstances or educational disadvantage (this is generally defined as students who attended a school or live in an area that has low rates of participation in higher education).

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