A recent study by Cluey Learning shows that students are stressed about their ATAR, and understandably so. It can feel like the culmination of your entire schooling career, and the deciding factor as to whether you get to attend university.

According to the study, 75% of Australian senior students felt that their ATAR score would influence the rest of their lives, and 80% felt that a score below 60 would be damaging to their life. But the idea that university is only for those who achieved a high ATAR in secondary school is a myth. In 2018, just over half of the 279,000 people around Australia who received an offer to study did not have an ATAR.  In 2019, 48% of students were admitted to the University of Tasmania without an ATAR.

Here are only five of the many ways you can pursue your dreams and follow your path into the University of Tasmania.

1. Evidence-based Entry

We understand that your ATAR isn’t the only way to show you can be successful at university. There are evidence-based ways to demonstrate your capacity for study. You might be eligible for concessional entry, which means if you can prove your ability for study, you can be assessed on a case-by-case basis with additional evidence. You may need to provide a reference from your school or college principal or careers advisor. You can also sit an aptitude test, such as the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) to show your capability. If you already have experience out in the real world in work or life that you think is applicable to your studies, you can submit a personal competency statement.

2. Bridging and enabling programs

If you don’t currently meet the entry requirements for your chosen course, we have two short programs to help you meet the entry requirements. There are two options, the University Preparation Program (UPP), and the Diploma of University Studies. These courses not only help you learn the essential skills required for entry into a degree at university, they also give you an extra at success and give you credit towards a degree. More on Pathway Programs here.

3. TAFE/VET qualification

If you already have a VET qualification, and are looking for the next step up, a university degree is the natural progression. Undertaking a higher education qualification is an investment in your future self. If you have completed an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Certificate IV you meet the General Entry Requirements for university. Some courses also consider AQF Certificate III.

4. Associate Degrees

Associate degrees provide an entry point to university for those seeking practical, hands-on study experiences with industry connections. They provide an alternative to a standard bachelor’s degree and don’t require an ATAR to enter.  An associate degree is either a stand-alone university qualification or will be considered for credit into a bachelor’s degree. More on Associate Degrees here.

5. University Connections Program (UCP)

This is an alternative pathway into early study for Year 11 and 12 students. UCP gives you a taste of what university life is like, through completing introductory units at university while completing the TCE. These units can be credited towards a degree, meaning you’ll be one step closer to finishing a degree. More about the UCP here.


You can read more on The Conversation about ATAR stress here.