University and other tertiary institutions offer many wonderful opportunities to continue your education, specialise in one or more areas of study, connect with like-minded people and experience life as a young adult, often for the first time. And for some professions, such as medicine or science, a university degree is often the first job requirement.
In all Australian states, homeschooled students are not eligible to receive an ATAR score, making it difficult to meet the selection requirements for most universities. But this isn’t the end of the road! There are a number of ways in which homeschooled students can gain entry into the course they want.
If your child has his or her sights set on further study, they may need to enrol in a traditional school or register for distance education during their senior years. They could also complete their studies through TAFE before transferring to their chosen course. Finally, there’s a lot to be said for some old fashioned hustling, and many universities have been open to non-traditional applications in the past.
5 ways to get into further education
Enrolling in school
Your child can enrol in a government or independent school at any time, however many students who would like to receive an ATAR score do this from Year 11 to ensure enough time to prepare for Year 12. Some states even allow part time enrolment, which could give your child an opportunity to transition to school from Year 10 or earlier.
Distance education programs allow students to enrol at their nearest participating school and receive resources and guidance, including textbooks and videoconferencing, to support their online studies. Because distance education programs are developed and overseen by state education departments, students are eligible to participate in assessments and receive an ATAR score.
Senior studies at TAFE
Each state offers a slightly different variation of senior study opportunities via TAFE or similar institutions, however all offer nationally recognised TVET Studies (Training Packages or Accredited Courses) or senior subjects developed and approved by your state’s education authority. These certifications can be used to apply for university.
Obtaining a degree via Open Universities
Open Universities offers hundreds of online degrees or subjects from some of the country’s top universities. Many homeschooling students have gained full degrees via this pathway, or used it as a Year 12 alternative to gain entry into their chosen course. Students can apply to transfer to their chosen course with as little as two units, however eight units is considered a full university year.
Appealing directly to the university
It’s not uncommon for homeschooled students to approach a university directly in a bid to gain entry into their chosen course. If you’re willing to find the right contacts and introduce yourself, you could book in some time with an admissions officer, bring along a portfolio or record of learning and be prepared to make a case for why you should be given a spot.
Many admissions people want to see that you have the education and skills to work at a university level, and many homeschoolers will attest to the fact that this has worked in the past.