University Entrance Options

People sometimes worry that their home-educated students may have difficulty gaining entrance to university if that’s a pathway they want to pursue. Most school students are locked into attempting university entrance by sitting ATAR exams, however, home-educated students have a wider range of options available to them.

University Entry Options

TAFE/RTO

A Diploma from TAFE or another Registered Training Organisation is usually sufficient to meet admission requirements for most university courses. For some university courses, a Certificate III or IV will also suffice, or be sufficient in combination with another entry option. Our TAFE page has more information about TAFE and RTOs.

ATAR

Some home-educating students choose to go to a school or engage in distance education (this is a form of school, not homeschooling) for Year 11 & 12 so that they can sit the ATAR exam. If returning to school, they deregister from home education.

Young adults in library
Young adults in uni lecture

Interview

Some home-educating parents have found that having an interview with a university admissions officer has been all that is needed for their child to be offered a place at university. This is not the case for everyone, but if a student has significant life or career-related skills gained through work/work experience or a record of academic excellence, they may be offered admission. Sometimes in these situations, students will need to sit the STAT test (see below) to show they are ready for university. In WA, most universities have a favourable view of home-educated students, finding that many are self-motivated, have initiative, responsibility, and independence, have a great work ethic, and a love of learning.

STAT Test

The TISC website states, “The Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) has been developed by the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) to assess competencies commonly considered important for success in tertiary study. In WA anyone who is 20 years of age before 1 March in the year in which they wish to commence studies is eligible to sit.

The STAT provides an avenue of entry to a tertiary institution for those who do not have the formal entry requirements. It is a national test for mature age people designed to assess aptitude for learning in a tertiary environment. It is not a test of your knowledge of specific academic subjects. It is available throughout Western Australia. It is recognised in all Australian states.”

Taking some time to travel or work after secondary education and then sitting the STAT test when one is turning 20 is one possible entry pathway to university, however, students can sit the STAT test to show that they are ready for university at a younger age.

Parents cannot request that their child sits the STAT test but if a university states that they would like a student younger than 20 to sit the test, the request will be granted. In situations where a student is seeking admission before age 18, seeking admission by interview or portfolio, the university might request that they sit the STAT test. You can find out more about the STAT test here.

Young adult smiling
Young adult smiling

Portfolio
A student portfolio may contain:

* References
– From places of employment
– From volunteer organisation leaders i.e. St Johns, Red Cross, Scouts, Cadets
– From leaders of places of membership, i.e. church, sporting club
– From long term friends, family, tutors, teachers or coaches

* Supplementary courses
– Certificates i.e. Senior First Aid
– Diplomas i.e. Diploma in information technology
– Workshops i.e. Narrative Therapy Workshop Course Work

* Written transcript of material covered in last year of work

* Test results such as NAPLAN or OLNA, national Maths tests/competitions or other tests associated with their study

* If your child has a specialist area, then a compilation of that work should be included also. Some examples are; art portfolio, website designs, musical composition, writing samples (eg, creative writing or journalistic writing).

Open University Units

Students can study units from Open Universities Australia (OUA) while in their secondary education years and units completed may help a student gain admission to full-time university study. Passing four OUA units meets the academic and English university entry requirements for most courses. OUA units are expensive however, and students need to be confident that they can handle the pace, content and independence required for this level of study.

Work

Some universities provide credit toward the completion of university courses for relevant work and life experience. Work and life experience in a relevant field may be enough in some situations to provide admission to university. Talk to a university admissions officer about what’s possible with work and life experience.

Other

A university may have other admissions options available for your child, as new initiatives are being created and things change over time. It’s best to call Future Students services or the Admissions Officer and have a conversation or arrange a meeting to discuss possibilities for your child. Usually these people are very supportive.

It’s also worth noting that many university courses can be done part-time, and that doing first year university over two years may be a great option for some home-educated students. It can allow students to settle into university life and requirements with less pressure than full-time study, as well as allow them to transition socially.

When it comes to tertiary study of any kind, it’s important for parents to ask themselves, “why rush?” as sometimes delaying starting university or TAFE, or starting part-time may be what’s best for a student emotionally, socially or academically.

Some universities also have “university ready” courses that help equip students with the skills they need to thrive at university. Check the university website or talk to an admissions officer for more details.

Young adult with backup walking
Young adults standing in group reading

University Information Pages

Below is a list of information pages on entry options for WA universities. Remember, make an appointment to speak to someone about what’s possible for your child’s situation. There may be options that are not listed on these pages.

Curtin University

Murdoch University

Edith Cowan University 

University of WA

University of Notre Dame

Sheridan College