Thinking about Uni


Thinking about University is exciting.  You are making decisions about your future.  If you are thinking about Uni, you probably are also coming up with lots of questions.  

Gathering information and asking questions is a key ingredient of career development.  Talking to people who are working in careers you are interested in, participating in Stellar activities, visiting university open days and working with your school careers advisor will all help you to develop a vision of  your career. 

The resources included in this section aim to answer some of the questions you have about getting into uni and support once you’re there..

Pathways to University

There are a number of pathways to university and careers that you might be interested in.  The right pathway for you might be different to your friends, family members or someone else interested in the same career.  If you are in High School your Careers Advisor will be able to talk to you about your pathway to your chosen career.  Talking to people who work in careers you are interested and asking questions at university events can also help you to choose a pathway that suits you. 

Early Entry Schemes

These offer an opportunity for you to be accepted into university even before your ATAR/OP results are known. Year 12 students can apply on the basis of their principal’s recommendation


Typically, Australian students gain entry to university based on their academic performance. In NSW high school students are given an ATAR which is a rank out of 100, in QLD students are awarded an OP, or over-all position, score.  A university entrance ranks allow universities to rank students in order of academic merit. The ‘entry score’ or ‘cut-off’ for a course is the lowest rank with which you can gain entry to a particular course. Cut-offs can vary from one year to the next depending on student demand.

Prerequisites – to learn about prerequisites or suggested HSC subjects for courses you are interested in visit the university website. 

Regional Bonus Points – many universities recognise that Year 12 students from regional areas may not always have the same opportunities as students in capital cities. Universities can add bonus ATAR/OP points for students undertaking Year 12 studies in schools and TAFE colleges within their feeder region.

Associate Degrees

These can be a very helpful first step for students who may have not had a traditional route to university but are seeking to obtain a tertiary qualification to equip them for professional employment in their chosen field. Graduates of the Associate degree can complete their Bachelor degree with just one year of additional full-time study.

Associate Degrees are two-year courses (full-time or part-time equivalent) that develop academic skills in learning as well as in the specific learning area; for an example, business.

University Preparation Courses

Equips students with study skills appropriate for success at University. Students who complete a preparation course can usually go straight into a degree with confidence that they are well-prepared to embark on further study.

Head-Start Programs

Provides the opportunity for Year 11 and 12 students to complete university subjects as part of their HSC. Upon completion of the subject, students gain direct entry and advanced standing into a variety of courses offered at University. The courses are often free and offer the chance to gain a taste of university life, stimulate interest in academic pursuits and enhance educational performance and long term aspirations.

TAFE Pathways

If you have completed study at TAFE you are well on your way to your University Degree.

Depending on the TAFE course you’ve completed, you may be able to use it to gain entry into your university studies with advanced standing (credit) towards your degree. Each University will have advanced standing arrangements with TAFE institutes.

Indigenous Entry Programs

Most universities provide Indigenous Australian students with the services and support they need to gain access to and succeed in higher education. This often includes:

  • Testing and Assessment Programs as an alternative entry pathway for Indigenous Australian applicants.
  • Additional tutorial support while at university
  • Assistance with applying for scholarships
  • Assistance to attend compulsory placements (including intensive on campus classes) can be provided through the Centrelink administered Away From Base Scheme.