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Alternative Entry Schemes

What are Alternative Entry Schemes?

An Alternative Entry Scheme is a way into a university degree which is not based on an ATAR. Most universities offer an alternative entry scheme that is specifically designed for Indigenous Australians.

An Alternative Entry Scheme typically suits someone who has,

  • Finished high school 3 or more years ago,
  • Not acquired the necessary ATAR for entry into their degree of choice,
  • Not completed an HSC or equivalent.

Students who gain admission to university through an Alternative Entry Scheme undertake the same course and will graduate with exactly the same qualifications as those who are admitted directly based on their ATAR.

There are many Alternative Entry Schemes specifically targeted at Indigenous Australians, however, there are also schemes for all applicants that take into account other factors such as academic or sporting performance during high school. 

For more information about alternative entry options available, contact the Indigenous Higher Education Unit 

How do I apply?

Entry through an Alternative Entry Scheme varies depending on the university. Typically you will need to submit an application through the Universities Admission Centre or directly to the university you wish to attend.

As most universities offer specific Alternative Entry Schemes for Indigenous Australians, you will need to state on your application that you identify as an Aboriginal Australian or Torres Strait Islander.

In addition to this you would typically be asked to provide documentation including,

  • References
  • A portfolio of related work
  • Evidence of related work experience

You are also likely to be asked to attend an interview, assessment workshop or to complete a Special Tertiary Admissions Test.

What happens if my Alternative Entry Application is successful?

You will receive a place in an undergraduate degree program and may also be provided with additional support throughout your degree.

What happens if it is unsuccessful?

There are other pathways you can look into, such as preparatory or enabling courses.

How much will it cost?

Some schemes are free and others have a fee. There may also be other related application or processing costs. If you have to travel to attend the assessment process at a university campus, you may be eligible for assistance with the cost of travel, meals and accommodation. Check with the relevant university for more information.

What is the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)?

University applicants who have not recently completed a Year 12 course may be asked to sit a Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) as a part of their application.

The test is designed to assess your ability to understand, analyse and think critically about various issues. It is not intended as a test of either curriculum knowledge or academic subjects.

Does the STAT cost anything?

Yes, there are fees for sitting the test. The test and results are usually administered by a Tertiary Admissions Centre. You will need to check with the centre what their fee is.

Find out more


Search for alternative pathway programs available across Australia