There are 3 things needed for tertiary entrance: (Click on item below to link to the relevant section)

  1. Year 12 Certificate
  2. Tertiary Entrance Rank
  3. Prerequisite subjects

1. Year 12 Certificate

graduate icon

The ACE Year 12 Certificate is recognised by most tertiary institutions.

Each state’s Tertiary Admissions Centre assesses student eligibility on behalf of the institution/s to which they are applying. ACE Year 12 certificates are known by Tertiary Admissions Centres, and our students usually do not have to apply directly to universities. Year 12 students who are wishing to graduate this year should be well on their way to completing their credits. Please ensure you send their final set of tests for graduation to ACHS, in an envelope marked “Final Tests” with your application and payment. We recommend aiming to finish in mid-November, to allow sufficient processing time. Please remember it takes about four weeks for processing.

If you have not sent in a list of credits being completed for graduation, please do so with your next PACE Test return envelope. Please use the Guide to Certificate Requirements.

2. Tertiary Admission

certificate icon

Entry into universities in Australian is determined by a score which ranks students for selection to tertiary courses. This score gives an indication to the overall position of the student in relation to the student body for that year across the state. The maximum rank is 99.95 and the minimum is <30.00.

Entrance to various university courses is usually determined by the cut-off score for each course. These scores are known as an ATAR in most states.

2.1 SAT

marking icon

A SAT test result is the usual way for ACE graduates to acquire a rank for entry to most courses. Our staff can help you know what SAT test result to aim for, if you tell us an approximate rank you need.

The SAT is held in capital cities and regional centres approximately 6 times per year. It is wise to sit a SAT test early in the year as a practice for their final SAT.

Information and online registration is available at www.collegeboard.com. The latest test that students can use for the next year’s university entrance is October. Sunday testing is available for Sabbath keepers. You need to apply early (about 10 weeks before your test). You will need to send in a paper application (available from the College Board www.collegeboard.com ). Early registration is also required if you need a “closer to home” test. That is available for students who live more than 115 km from the nearest test centre. You may need to find someone to supervise the test for you. They must be a reputable person from your local community, who is not related to you. They will be paid for supervising the test, but they will have some paperwork to fill in before and after the test day. Talk to ACHS staff if this is an option for you.

Preparation for SAT: Use the Official SAT Study Guide for more extensive preparation. If this book is not available you may want to access the official SAT practice experience online with the Khan Academy. Go to http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/sat/prep_one/prep_one.html. Either way, your student will find sample questions, tips and explanations about how to answer each type of question. The practice tests can be scored online and a report printed out indicating student weaknesses and explanations of the answers.

2.2 STAT

Some University courses with lower entrance ranks can be accessed by a Special Tertiary Admission Test (STAT). The STAT is run by the Tertiary Admissions Centre in each state. It does not give you access to all courses, so the SAT is recommended for ACE graduates wanting to enter such courses. Talk to ACHS Staff about which is the optimal test for your student.

2.3 TAFE

Some students also complete a TAFE Certificate course or an early entry University course, during their senior years (Years 11 & 12). These awards will earn a preset rank for tertiary entrance in most states. This rank will vary according to the level of your certificate e.g. Cert III has a lower rank than an Advanced Diploma.

High achievers may be considered to study a university course during year 11 or 12, as most universities have early entry schemes for senior school students. The student needs to have a good academic record, supporting the fact that their Year 12 work won’t be hindered by their university study. Successful completion of such courses enhances tertiary entrance for related courses.

3. Prerequisite Subjects

subjects icon

Prerequisite subjects are often required for technical courses such as Engineering, and Science. Some courses require specific Maths and Science subjects to be completed prior to entry. A student needs to provide evidence of passing those subjects, to be eligible for entry, in addition to achieving the cut-off rank. ACE English is usually satisfactory (we recommend that you have a minimum of 2 English subjects on your Year 12 Transcript). For entrance to Maths, Chemistry and Physics courses, we recommend that you complete the relevant PACEs (Senior Maths 1 & 2, Chemistry 1121-1132, Physics 1133-1144), then sit QSA (Queensland Studies Authority) Year 12 exams, as external students. Visit www.qsa.qld.edu.au/assessment/588.html for more information.

It is also recommended that students use past exam papers and consult with ACHS staff as additional preparation. A pass in an external exam is recognised by university admissions staff as having passed the Year 12 subject. It assists with proof of meeting subject prerequisite requirements.

The closing date for the external exams is April 30th. Late applications can be accepted, with a fee, up to August 31st. Be sure to contact ACHS staff in plenty of time to make arrangements prior to the closing dates.

We recommend that students inquire during Year 10 about possible prerequisite subjects for tertiary courses they may be interested in. They will need to include the prerequisite subjects in their senior schooling subject choices. Consult with ACHS staff, even if you are not certain which tertiary courses you might choose later.

Making your Application

exam icon

Apply for courses through the Tertiary Admissions Centre (TAC) in the state in which your student wishes to study. Online applications are usually open from late July and closing dates are usually late September. Late applications may be made, but there is an additional fee. Students may be still working on Year 12 subjects, at the time of application.

ACE graduates apply for “Alternative Entry” to tertiary institutions. For the school name, they enter ACE/SAT. This signals to the TAC that they will be sending their documentation in separately.

ACE graduates are encouraged to include information which may support their application, for example TAFE certificate II, III or IV; Music certificates for grade 6 or higher, evidence of employment experience (photocopy the Group certificate and include a reference from an employer). These are more useful if they relate to the course you are applying for. This is especially helpful for a student applying for a TAFE course.

Sending your documentation to the Admissions Centres

Students need to provide the university admissions centre with certified copies of the ACE Certificate, the Year 12 Transcript, and their SAT or STAT results. ACHS is not responsible for sending that information to the admissions centres for you. Closing dates for sending in results usually occur in December. The Tertiary Admissions Centre websites will provide exact dates.

Choosing Preferences

Students are usually allowed to apply for a number of courses, in a preference list. It is advised that the first two preferences be their “wish list”, i.e. courses which they really desire to get into, but which may be harder to gain entry into. The next preferences should be courses into which they realistically think they can gain entry. The last preference should be to make sure that they gain entry into something. This is known as “getting a foot in the door”.

If a student doesn’t get into their first choice course, we recommend that they commence any course, preferably one which is relevant to their career path, with the aim of proving themselves worthy of transfer after one or two semesters. This is a commonly used method of gaining entry, not only used by ACE students. For example, at University of Queensland, approximately 60% of the Veterinary Science students enter from another university course.

Consult ACHS staff if you have any further questions or if you come across any hurdles along the way.