It may be that you have a clear idea of your pathway to university and feel you are ready to get started now. Or you may know that you want to return to study but are not sure how best to get started or even if you can meet the entry requirements. There are always possibilities to explore that will help you make these decisions.

To gain entry into university you need to have a selection rank and possibly have completed some specified subjects called pre-requisites at secondary school (or equivalent) such as Maths, English and Science and sometimes others depending on the program requirements.  If you completed Year 12 you may have received an OP (Overall Position) which is equivalent to a selection rank. If you did not complete Year 12 or you did not receive an OP high enough to gain entry into the course you are interested in, or you chose a non-OP option, there are a number of ways you can achieve a rank including completion of:
All of these choices are explained below or detailed in the QTAC Info Sheet (PDF, 475 kb).

Think you're ready now?

If you think you are ready now, then you have some immediate options. If you have completed a TAFE qualification you may be able to apply directly to the university you are interested in. If you have completed a diploma level qualification or higher then you may be able to get credit for the study you have already completed.

Yes, I'm ready.

  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test
  • Employment Experience
  • Apply through your relevant tertiary admissions centre: QTAC/UAC
  • Direct Entry: Some universities will allow prospective students to apply directly to the university if they have completed previous study, such as a TAFE diploma. There are also direct entry programs for  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. When looking at the website of the universities you are interested in, if you think you meet the above criteria, then be sure to search for ‘Direct Entry’, usually listed under the ‘applicants’ or ‘apply now’ section of the site.

Not Quite Ready

If you are not quite ready because:
  • you are not sure what you want to study yet, or
  • you left school a while ago and haven’t studied for some time, or
  • you didn’t finish secondary school;
there are options available to you too.
There are education providers that allow you to complete senior secondary studies as an adult learner, without having to go ‘back to school’.  Universities, TAFE and other education providers offer senior studies programs, tertiary preparation programs or bridging programs that equip you with the skills and knowledge that prepare you for university study including: subject specific content (Maths, Physics and English), time management, academic writing, and academic referencing as well as general computing and study skills. 
You could also consider doing a TAFE program. If you complete a certificate III or higher then you will also achieve an entry rank to gain entry into some universities. A diploma qualification or higher will usually gain entry with credit for your previous study.

Senior Studies and Alternative Entry

If you want to know more about Senior Studies then check out Christine's story where she talks about her experience at Kingston Learning College.

Preparatory and Bridging Pathways

If you want to know more about Preparatory Programs then check out Kisa's story where she talks about her experience with the Griffith University Preparation Program.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Pathways


Refugee and/or CALD Background Programs


Helpful documents


Other Pathways 

There are other pathways you can use to get to university. For example, you can complete a qualification with a TAFE provider or particular universities; these qualifications may have employment outcomes (so they are usually for getting a job) and are often used as a pathway to university. They include:
  • Certificate III
  • Certificate IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced diploma
  • Associate degree. 
If you want to know more about TAFE programs then check out Ross' Story where he talks about his experience at TAFE Queensland.
More information about these qualifications is available in Education Providers.