Missed Out On A University Place? Don't Despair
By Tim Laurence
Every year, about 20% of students who apply for a university place will miss out. Last year, for example and despite more places being made available, there were 40,000 more applications than there were places available.
For students and their parents, the news that they've missed out on a university place can come as a bucket of cold water over their hopes and dreams. Many may feel that it's the end of career aspirations.
But as bad as it feels, missing out on the offer of a university place doesn't mean the end of a student's career goals. There are a number of solid options available - think of them as smart alternatives that can help students stay on track to achieve their dreams.
What to Do?
Once students realise they do not have a place, the first step is to find out about alternate programs. These are programs offered by universities that are similar to the student's first choice, but with lower entry criteria.
Students who start in an alternate program have a good chance of moving across to their preferred course, once they've established a solid academic record.
For example, if the student missed out on a place in the Law degree at a particular university, they should consider enrolling in Arts at that university and then transferring across later on.
Students may also consider enrolling at institutions with lower entry criteria for their dream course such as a different university or TAFE provider.
Again, as they build up a good record of achievement, students can apply to transfer to their preferred university.
Another option is to consider enrolling with a pathway provider -
especially one that is associated with their university of choice that has very strong ties with the university's academic programs and lecturers.
The diploma courses at these pathway colleges are generally accredited as equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree, and successful completion means students can qualify to enter their preferred undergraduate course.
What's important is to work out what went wrong, acknowledge it, make the necessary course corrections and then try, try again.
What if You Don't Get the Grades?
As soon as you know that you didn't make the grade, start investigating alternate programs available at your first choice university.
If you are still unsuccessful, you may wish to consider applying to study the same course at an institution with lower entry criteria such as TAFE.
Also consider pathway programs that will lead you directly into your first-choice university course
Above all, don't panic. There are a number of options that lead students on an alternate pathway to their dream undergraduate course.
About Tim Laurence
Tim is the General Manager, Education at UTS:INSEARCH, the premium pathway provider to UTS. He is responsible for the delivery and quality assurance of all UTS:INSEARCH pathway programs both locally and internationally.
He has 26 years experience in higher education teaching and management. With a background in design, he is also an Adjunct Professor of Design at the University of Technology, Sydney and a Fellow of the Design Institute of Australia.
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