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Alternative Entry to University

Many universities offer educational access or alternative entry schemes to assist students with disability and mature aged applicants (over 21 years) gain admission to university study.

Section 4.2 of the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (Cth) states:

“...[an] education provider must take reasonable steps to ensure that a prospective student is able to seek admission to, or apply for enrolment in, the institution on the same basis as a prospective student without a disability, and without experiencing discrimination” assuming that the prospective student has met all educational requirements for entry.

Educational Access Schemes (EAS)

NB: These schemes may be called several other names across the different states and territories (SEAS, ACCESS, Educational Access Scheme)

Special consideration is given to students who have met the requirements for entry but who have experienced disadvantage through the impact of disability. Educational Access Schemes operate across most Australian Universities and provide a formal process to enhance a student’s opportunity for selection into their chosen course.

The Scheme aims to add bonus points onto the Australian Tertiary Admissions Ranking or ATAR score in order to adjust for disadvantage. For example, recognising educational disadvantage due to background; impact of financial situation; disability; regional or remote location; or disruption to studies due to family difficulties, health or natural disasters.

If you are a mature aged student and don't have an ATAR, selection officers will assess the type and level of difficulty you have experienced and adjust your selection criteria accordingly.

Candidates lodge an application for EAS by providing such documents as:

  • a personal statement
  • a medical statement
  • an impact statement outlining how their disability has affected studies
  • an impact statement outlining how their personal circumstances have affected their studies.

EAS applications are assessed centrally but individual institutions have their own policies on how EAS assessments are used in the allocation of offers. Institutions use EAS assessments to allocate offers of admission in one of two ways:

  • they set aside a certain number of places
  • they allocate bonus points.

Please note that not all institutions participate in these access schemes, however, most do.

See State-based Admissions Centres for more information.

Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)

STAT provides applicants who don't have a recent or standard Year 12 qualification with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to cope with tertiary studies. It is mostly used by adult entry applicants (21 years plus); however some university courses also require STAT results as an additional prerequisite. This test designed to assess a range of competencies and skills considered important for success in tertiary study. This includes an applicant’s ability to comprehend information and to think critically about issues rather than assess their knowledge of specific academic subjects. Some tertiary providers provide workshops to assist people prepare for STAT.  

To find out more visit the STAT website or contact the tertiary admissions body/centre in your State or Territory.

    Advanced Standing

    Advanced standing is when higher education providers recognise prior work experience or study in a related field. This is referred to as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in Vocational Education.

    To apply for advanced standing through prior studies you will need to provide subject to unit outlines, results or academic transcripts for assessment. Documents required to assess work related experience will include a supporting statement from your employer.

    All documents presented will need to be certified. To enquire whether Advanced Standing may be available, contact your institution.

    Other Pathways

    Some Universities may consider mature aged applicants on the basis of a personal statement outlining the skills and abilities they consider necessary to study at a tertiary level. This personal competencies statement will need to outline any relevant experience and skills in the related field of study along with the following:

    • reasons for choosing a preferred course
    • steps that have been taken to prepare for tertiary study
    • communication skills
    • sources of support
    • capacity for independent study

    Please contact your institution to enquire whether a personal competency statement may be applicable to  your circumstances.

    University Preparation Programs and Bridging Courses

    Many universities offer a range of preparation courses to provide students with the skills and confidence to undertake university learning. See Preparation Programs and Bridging Courses for further information.