Alternative Pathways

alternative pathways

For when things don’t quite go to plan


You’ve spent the last few years studying hard, and have applied to uni. But what happens if offers start rolling out and you miss out?

We know it can be disappointing, but it’s important to not give up. There’s always another way to get into the course of your dreams.

Maybe you could consider taking an alternative pathway.


What are alternative pathways?


Like the name suggests, alternative pathways are different ways of getting into university. Instead of taking the traditional route of applying with your ATAR at the end of Year 12, many unis offer tons of different ways you can get in instead.

They do this so that nobody is disadvantaged – maybe you had an illness that affected your studies, or you had music or sporting commitments that took up a lot of your time. Maybe you just didn’t quite get the ATAR you were expecting, or missed a prerequisite subject. Or maybe you feel like you’re not quite ready to jump into uni straight after school.

There are options out there for everyone.


What are some common alternative pathways?


  • Choose a course with a lower ATAR in the same field and transfer.
  • Do a uni pathway course.
  • Take the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT).
  • Take a bridging course (find out more about them here).
  • Study at TAFE or through an RTO.
  • Get an apprenticeship – you can always go to uni later on to consolidate your skills (plus you can earn some money while you learn).
  • Find a job and gain work experience, preferably in the same field, then apply as a mature-age student.

Plus, heaps of universities offer their own special internal pathways. For example, Macquarie University offer eleven different pathways for admission – that’s right, eleven! Here are just a few of them:

Your options are (nearly) endless!


Where can I find out more?


If you’re feeling uncertain about entry into your dream course, you can always contact the university directly and chat about your options. At the end of the day they want you to study, so they’re bound to be able to help you out.

You can also take a look at our handy Alternative Pathways Database, filled with pathway options from unis around the country.

You might also like to check out this flowchart to help you narrow down your options.

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