Thursday, December 5, 2013

Expecting a low ATAR in this year’s HSC? Don’t Panic - Follow Danny Bielik’s Tips

On the 2GB Courses and Careers Show of 5 December, MCI’s Danny Bielik discussed tips for those who are concerned that the release of their HSC results might mean missing out on their preferred place at uni.

“Don’t panic,” is Danny’s key message.  “In 2013, there are a myriad of ways of gaining a tertiary qualification and if you read the tips on my blog you stand a very good chance of being able to gain access to your preferred course anyway.”

  1. Consider other options – there are over 100 private providers of degrees in Australia.  Every one of them is licensed by the Government body TEQSA – the same body that accredits universities. Often, the private Higher Education Providers can offer a more specialised qualification and approach and ATAR may not be all they look at for entry.  Many of these providers offer the Federal Government’s FEE-HELP loan scheme, enabling you to defer your fees in the same way as HECS.  For more information, visit peak bodies COPHE or ACPET
  2. Choose a vocational course - ask yourself – why did you choose uni anyway? Will it get you the best result in the workplace or would a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification be more applicable?  There are thousands of qualifications that are considered Nationally Recognised Training at a range of Government-accredited providers (including MCI, of course).  You can study a Certificate, Diploma or Advanced Diploma course and often get access to the Government’s VET FEE-HELP loan scheme to defer your fees.  Most providers don’t require a significant ATAR to enter, as they can offer training and mentoring that you can’t get at university.  Many then allow you to continue on to a degree, which leads us to… 
  3. Choose a pathway – there are a range of providers who allow you to complete a VET qualification as a precursor to getting into higher education / university.  Do a Diploma or Advanced Diploma for a year and it often counts as the equivalent of a year at university.  PLUS, you get the extra qualification.  There are a range of specialty pathway providers such as Navitas or Insearch that specialise in these approaches, plus many vocational providers such as MCI have arrangements with unis.  VET FEE-HELP is also offered by many providers – so no fees up-front.
  4. Same uni – different course – if you have your heart set on a particular course at a particular university – again, don’t panic! Often universities will allow you to do an internal transfer. So you can start in a more generalised degree programme, say Bachelor of Arts and then after your first year, transfer to your preferred degree.  Choose your modules carefully in your first year and it may not require any extra time. Please contact your preferred university for more details. 
  5.  Online study – Just about every course is available online now – including a range of vocational qualifications and higher education degrees.  Online study is great for people who want to work whilst they study as it is the ultimate in flexibility. And with online study, a good provider would offer mentors who can help you progress through your course. Tutors also help you with difficult course work and your classmates are only a click away in virtual meeting places.

The bottom line is that there are now more options than ever to pursue your dream in your own way. So please don’t panic, if you don’t get the mark you wanted – explore these other options.  They may work out better in the long run anyway.

Danny Bielik is a former Ministerial Adviser and CEO of Management Consultancy International.  Danny presents the Courses and Careers Show each Thursday on Nights with Steve Price.  You can listen to the Courses and Careers Show on 873 2GB in Sydney and  Podcasts are on the 2GB website and iTunes.

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