How to Get Into University Without an ATAR

A university degree can give you the qualifications you need for the successful career and future you dream of. Yet if you're not automatically eligible to enter the course you want to take, it's easy to believe you have no choice but to give up on your dream. The good news is that even if your ATAR score or OP is not high enough to enter the degree you want to pursue, there are still ways to get into uni. You're not alone - many students wonder how to get into uni without an ATAR.

Until now, the OP, or Overall Position, has been the standard pathway into a course of tertiary study at Queensland. The ATAR will replace the OP starting for Year 11 students in 2019. For graduating Year 12 students from 2020 on, the ATAR will be the standard measure of academic achievement.

In order to qualify for an ATAR, students must have completed five General subjects or four General subjects plus an Applied or VET course of Certificate III or higher. They must also successfully finish one of the key English courses to qualify to receive an ATAR.

At James Cook University, we understand there are many reasons you might not have an ATAR or might not have a high enough score to enter the degree of your choice. Some of these reasons have nothing to do with academic skill, intelligence, or your capability to pursue a university-level degree course. There are many pathways to a degree from JCU and no need to give up on your dream.

Earn a Diploma

One of the fastest ways to gain entry into a bachelor degree program is to start with a Diploma of Higher Education. Earn your diploma through full-time studies over the course of one year or do it part-time. Learn the skills you need to be a successful university student and show yourself, and everyone else, that you have what it takes to succeed in higher education.

In addition to introductory skills, your diploma course will include first-year degree subjects in the areas that interest you. When you graduate with your diploma, you'll have a head start on those subjects. In some cases, you may be able to earn credit for first-year courses. In others, you have the opportunity to attain advanced standing.

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Leverage your Experience

If you have no ATAR score because you've been out of school for a time, you can still find a pathway to a university degree at James Cook University. We know that the experience you've gained on the job is invaluable. If you've been working full time for at least six months, there could be a pathway to university for you even if your ATAR score would not normally be high enough to automatically make you eligible.

Your employment does not necessarily have to relate to the field you hope to study or be with the same employer throughout your career. Contact us to find out more about how you might be able to use your work experience to gain entry into a degree. Your world-class education at JCU will build on the skills you've already gained through work.

Build a Bridge

Some of the most difficult prerequisites university applicants face are in Science and Mathematics courses. If you have an interest in pursuing a degree that requires high scores in subjects like Chemistry or Maths, a bridging course 500 Internal Server Error

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One of the best things about bridging courses is that you can take them as intensives, so they fit into a summer or winter break. By taking a bridging course, you can gain the qualifications you need to pursue your course of study; but that is not the only benefit to bridging courses. Through your bridging courses, you may gain more confidence in your own abilities and choice of career. A bridging course can give you insight as you make effective plans for your future.

Bolster Your Academic Confidence

If you are a school leader, a mature age student, or just want to build your confidence in your English and other important skills necessary for university studies, a Tertiary Access Course (TAC) could be your pathway to a university degree. Study full-time or part-time and gain the prerequisites you need to enter many undergraduate courses.

TAC courses are all about gaining the important academic skills necessary for success in higher education. These include English and communication skills, a certain level of mathematics skill, and the ability to use computers and information technology effectively throughout your learning experience.

As you study the TAC core subjects, you'll learn how to choose the right technological tools to succeed in research, how to use online information effectively, and master the critical literacy and mathematics skills that will be crucial to your degree studies.

If you have completed courses since leaving or finishing high school, that education can help you enter or fact track a university degree. Studies you have already completed can help you qualify for a degree course at a university in Australia.

Any TAFE courses or vocational education training courses, in particular, could be accepted for credit towards your JCU degree or as a qualification you might need to begin a degree at uni.

Don't let your lack of a score hold you back or worry about how to get into uni without an ATAR. A degree and a job is important, and there are many pathways to getting a university degree when you apply to JCU. A number does not define your future. Take a look at JCU and see how a commitment to student success can help you on the path to your future career.