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Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training
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Preparation and Bridging Programs

Most post-secondary education providers offer structured preparatory programs to help you meet specific entry requirements or better prepare you for higher level studies. These programs might also be called bridging, introductory, foundation or enabling.

Higher education courses often have one or more prerequisites. A prerequisite means that you need to have completed certain studies, or specific subjects, or have relevant prior work experience to be eligible to apply for admission to this course. For example, if you are interested in studying engineering, you will need a medium to high level of competency in maths and physics.

This prerequisite information is usually listed in the course description, under entry requirements.

Preparatory programs may also be relevant for a mature-aged applicant returning to study after a long gap, or someone from an educationally disadvantaged background.

If you don’t have the specified prior knowledge, or don’t meet the prerequisites for a particular course, you might consider doing a preparatory program.

Bridging programs

Bridging programs are primarily designed to ‘bridge the gap’ in knowledge for specific study areas, for example maths, physics and chemistry. Universities often run bridging programs over summer, in time for the start of the first semester in March. Speak with a course advisor to see if you meet the subject prerequisites specified for your chosen course.

Foundation studies and enabling programs

Many universities offer foundation studies or enabling programs to people who lack the formal educational qualifications to enter university without some further preparation. This group may include people who have not completed secondary schooling, have experienced significant disadvantage or are perhaps returning to  study after a long absence. Courses usually run for 12 months and include topics such as critical thinking and writing, using information technology, introduction to university, working in groups etc.

TAFE introductory and vocational courses

Some TAFE providers offer introductory courses, ranging from 5 days to 6 months in length. These programs are designed to provide you with an opportunity to explore further study opportunities (e.g. languages, or preparation for study) or learn a specific skill (e.g. Introduction to  Barista).

Contact your chosen TAFE, university or private provider for more information, or talk to an NDCO for assistance.