Are you worried you might not get the ATAR you need? Your current abilities don’t match university entry requirements? Or perhaps you weren’t in a position to complete year 12, and are in need of a different pathway to your future career.
No need to panic, there are plenty of available study options for you – TAFE courses can be the perfect pathway to uni, and many programs and courses are benefited by an already completed TAFE course.
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Benefits of TAFE vs the University System
If you’re looking for pathways into uni without an ATAR, a TAFE course can be the perfect way to make this happen. Many people are unable to complete their VCE/HSE; TAFE institutes can cater specifically to people in those circumstances, so you’ll be walking a path that is designed to help you get into university without an ATAR.
Complete advanced learning in your chosen speciality prior to university: If you’ve already completed a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in the subject area of your choice, when you move into the university degree, you’ll already be equipped with practical knowledge, as well as an incredible advantage over those learning the theory for the first time with no prior experience.
Bridging Courses at TAFE: Some institutions offer specific bridging courses, and some can be done as online bridging courses. These bridging courses are designed for students who are unsure about their preparation for university, or for those who don’t meet assumed knowledge requirements.
Flexible Learning: TAFE courses are more flexible, and allow for online, full time, part time or in person; making them particularly helpful for those who can’t currently commit to the constraints of a university degree but wish to in the future, and want to keep learning in the meantime.
TAFE Courses Are Affordable: The fact is, university if expensive. A TAFE course can ensure that you receive practical training to give you an idea about the reality of working in an industry before committing to the financial cost of a university degree. Since many universities partner with multiple TAFE institutions, this generally suggests that you have an automatic ‘in’ when you are ready to move forward into a university degree from TAFE if you decide to stay within the same institute and its partnerships. Also, various institutes offer over a large range of government funded courses, which means that an amount of your fees can be subsidised.
TAFE to university is a commonly accepted way to get into your chosen university degree, and the universities themselves are often keen to help you. In the next section, the specifics of pathways certain universities and colleges use are outlined in more detail, but don’t forget that universities will always look favourably on experience in the industry that you’re studying or previous study in a comparable field.
Using TAFE as a Pathway To A University Degree
So, how exactly can you go about using TAFE as a pathway to a university degree? There are a few general ways that you can achieve your university goals via TAFE:
This is when universities recognise the work done in a TAFE course in the form of credits, meaning less time in a corresponding university degree
Some TAFE’s and universities offer bridging, preparatory or pathway enabling programs. These are created expressly for the purpose of helping people who don’t feel they have the skills, or don’t meet prerequisite requirements for a specific course, to help bridge this gap in knowledge and help you get into your dream course
There are a number of institutions all over Australia that have partnered with universities, and some colleges even offer both university and TAFE schools, making it easy and simple to get started. Every university and TAFE college is different, but to get you started we’ve provided some information of some of the most popular training organisations and what pathways they provide.
of students who have completed a VET course, including at TAFE, would recommend their training to others
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There are many RMIT pathways to university. RMIT itself began as a technical college back in 1887, and didn’t become university certified until 1992 – this suggests that the institute has plenty of experience in transitioning from TAFE to university, as they did it themselves! This TAFE in Victoria offers pathways that are often directly designed for students looking to get into university.
They have a huge range of recognised university pathway courses to a variety of areas, including:
Many of these are ‘diploma to degree’ pathways, meaning that the pathway involves completing a complementary diploma before the relating degree. For example, if you’re interested in how to get into university without an ATAR and you want to be a nurse, RMIT offers a Diploma of Nursing, which will allow you to work in a number of nursing areas and gain hands-on experience, while you are completing your degree to become a registered nurse. Graduates of the nursing diploma may be eligible for credit of up to 96 points, or approximately one year of the university degree equivalent.
That means that by completing your diploma, you may have already completed some of the required units for the degree. Most diplomas have some sort of an entry requirement, but often those entry requirements can also be completed easily through TAFE. As an example, for a subject area such as nursing, either a completed year 12 certificate (VCE/HSE or equivalent) or a Certificate III in a corresponding health discipline may be needed. If you’re looking at a specific area or pathway, the RMIT website has a recognised pathway page that provides clear information on each pathway.
Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University, another institute located in Melbourne, does not have a TAFE institution itself, but has partnered with a number of TAFE colleges and Registered Training Organisations (RTO’s) to provide TAFE pathways to uni. These TAFE partners are all over Australia, including TAFE SA, GOTAFE and the Holmesglen Institute. There are a number of different types of programs on offer:
This means that previous TAFE courses may be counted as credit towards a degree in a complementary area of study
Means that a particular college can CSU qualifications on behalf of the uni
This means that you’re required to co enrol in both CSU and a partner TAFE organisation
This is for students who have already graduated from a TAFE school with a qualification – you can then receive credit for your qualification
While these are all ways to assist you in you TAFE to uni pathway, there are alternative university pathway courses available. At Charles Sturt, the Diploma of General Studies is an incredible opportunity. Essentially an advanced university prep course, this Diploma is designed for people who haven’t met the university entry requirements of a course or need extra preparation for university. On successful completion of the course, you not only receive a Diploma of General Studies, you also receive a Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation Certificate. This gives you guaranteed entry into most SCU degrees.
Deakin University has partnered with a number of TAFE providers all over both Melbourne and regional Victoria to give you a multitude of options. Partners include:
Having so many partners all over Victoria, including in rural areas, means that you can study your TAFE course anywhere in the state before choosing which of the many university pathways to continue along. Like most universities, Deakin allows for recognition of prior credit that you may be eligible for by completing a complementary TAFE course. They have a super easy to use pathways finder tool on their website that can help you figure out exactly which TAFE to university pathway is best for you.
Griffith University is a university in the South East of Queensland, and offers a number of admission pathways to university, including options to take you from a diploma to bachelor degree. Griffith university offers:
Bridging and preparatory programs
These are useful for students who have little to no prior knowledge in regards to the area of study that you’re interested in. They also have short programs in areas like english or science so that you can catch up on what you need to know before you complete a university degree
Griffith College is the TAFE division of Griffith University, and if you successfully complete a Griffith College Diploma, you are guaranteed direct entry into a related Griffith University degree Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary
If you complete a Certificate IV in Adult Tertiary Preparation at a recognised Queensland TAFE institution you are guaranteed entry into some Griffith University degrees
TAFE offers some incredible opportunities for students who are looking for a pathway into university. No matter your level of education, age, or where you live in Australia, there are heaps of options for you if you’re looking to achieve a degree.
Want to know more? Explore ‘What is TAFE and How Can It Benefit You’ here.