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Alternative entry

ATAR is not the only way to measure potential
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We offer a number of alternative pathways for domestic undergraduate applicants who wish to have additional factors taken into account alongside their academic results.

Most of our domestic students are accepted on the basis of their ATAR alone, but that's not the only way in.

You may be eligible for one of our alternative entry schemes, depending on your educational background, financial situation, and your motivation for choosing a particular course.

We offer a range of schemes that are open to both school leavers and mature-age students.

Alternative entry pathways

Early Offer Year 12 (E12)

The E12 scheme applies to domestic NSW students currently undertaking the Higher School Certificate (HSC) or International Baccalaureate (IB) who are from a financially disadvantaged background and/or are attending a government-identified 'low socioeconomic' high school.

Download the brochure to learn more or visit our E12 website.

If your application is successful, we’ll hold a place for you as long as you reach the E12 ATAR cut-off (which is lower than the standard ATAR), and the HSC subject requirements for your preferred course.

There are 39 courses you can apply for through E12. You’ll also receive a $5000 scholarship and an iPad.

Contact us for more details.

Flexible entry

Our Flexible Entry Scheme takes into consideration your performance in Higher School Certificate (HSC) or International Baccalaureate (IB) subjects that are relevant to your preferred degree.

It means you may still receive an offer for a course if you achieve an ATAR within five points of the minimum required.

Flexible entry is available for about 70 of our undergraduate courses. In most cases it's applied automatically if you're eligible.

For a few other courses, such as Media and Communications, Architecture or Engineering, a separate application is required. We're interested in hearing about your motivation for choosing the degree, as well as any extra work experience you may have, and your performance in particular subjects in Years 11 and 12. 

Find out if flexible entry is available for your preferred course, or contact us for more details.

Broadway

The Broadway scheme targets domestic students who have experienced long-term disadvantage that has affected educational performance in Year 11 and/or Year 12 including from disrupted schooling, financial hardship, home or school environment, English language difficulty, personal illness or disability, or refugee status.

There are 600 places allocated every year and, much like flexible entry, it allows for entry into most courses with an ATAR that is five points below the published cutoff.

Excluded courses are the Bachelor of Computer Science and Technology (Advanced), Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and all combined medicine courses.

You get automatic entry into the scheme if you went to a high school that falls under the:

  • NSW Department of Education and Training Low Socio-economic Transitional Equity Funding Program
  • NSW Department of Education and Training Geographic Isolation Program
  • Australian Government National Partnership for Low Socio-economic Status School Communities Program.

Contact us for more details.

Cadigal Alternative Entry

As an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, you can apply through the Cadigal Alternative Entry program regardless of whether you are a Year 12 or non-Year-12 student.

The Cadigal program is both an entry pathway and a support program. It can help you gain entry to a course if you miss the ATAR cutoff, and also provide ongoing academic and personal support once you’re enrolled and studying. This is offered through the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme.

Successful applicants will be offered one of two pathways:

  1. Cadigal Alternative Entry: you can begin your preferred course in first or second semester and study full time or part time.
  2. Pemulwuy Pathway Entry: you will be enrolled in two subjects (determined by your faculty) and an Academic Skills unit, and will begin study in the first semester towards one of these degrees
    • Bachelor of Arts
    • Bachelor of Liberal Arts and Sciences
    • Bachelor of Health Sciences.

If you’re offered a place through Cadigal or Pemulwuy, you’ll need to attend an Orientation and Academic Skills Workshop in February before the start of semester.

To learn more, contact us by email (support.cadigal@sydney.edu.au) or phone 02 8627 8619.

If the course you’re interested in is offered by the Faculty of Health Sciences, refer to Yooroang Garang – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Support Centre at the Cumberland Campus.

How to apply

Cadigal applications for 2016 will open in August 2015.

To apply for entry through the Cadigal program, you will need to submit an application form (PDF 640KB) to our Student Support Services team once you have registered with UAC and applied for your course.

If you're a Health Sciences student, use this form instead, and send it to the Yooroang Garang Indigenous Support Unit team.

You also need to provide supporting documents, including proof of Aboriginality. This can be:

  • evidence of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent (shown by birth records or genealogies, or a letter signed by an appropriate authority)
  • evidence of self identification as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (by statutory declaration).

For more details, read the Yooroang Garang Policy – Proof of Aboriginality, and the University’s Confirmation of Aboriginality Policy 2014.

Mature-age entry

If you’re at least 21 years of age and meet certain other criteria, you may be able to get into uni through the mature-age entry scheme. If eligible, you will need to apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

You are eligible to apply if you:

Our Centre for Continuing Education offers a University Preparation Program.

You are not eligible to apply for mature-age entry if you:

  • achieved an ATAR score of 70 or greater in the NSW Higher School Certificate or equivalent
  • completed a TAFE (or accredited private college) diploma or advanced diploma
  • have a tertiary record of one or more full-time years.

Contact us for more details.

Elite Athletes and Performers Scheme

This is for applicants who can demonstrate they are elite athletes or performers, and have had training, competitive and/or practice commitments that significantly affected their academic results.

It may allow you to gain admission to a course with an ATAR of up to five points below the usual cutoff.

To apply, you need to send a form and supporting documents to our Admissions Office, as well as submit your university application to the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC).

For more information, contact the Admissions Office, or download the scheme assessment criteria (PDF 28KB).

You may also be interested in joining the elite athlete program run by Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness.

Special Consideration for Admission

If you already have a record of tertiary study and have experienced some form of disadvantage during your secondary and/or tertiary studies, this entry scheme could be for you.

It allows you to explain how your academic results were negatively affected by circumstances beyond your control. This can be taken into account in determining your ranking for entry to a course.

Contact us for more details and to apply.

Rural entry

Through the rural entry scheme, we offer entry to Year 12 applicants from rural backgrounds who are appling for certain courses within the faculties of Pharmacy or Veterinary Science.

If eligible, you may qualify for admission with an ATAR within five points of the normal minimum required for entry to that course.

Find out more by contacting the relevant faculty.

Dux scheme

This scheme offers school duxes in NSW a guaranteed place at the University of Sydney based on academic achievement and a principal's nomination from their school.

If duxes are announced before the start of final exams (HSC or IB) at your school, you need to be nominated before 30 September. If successful, you will receive a conditional offer of a place at the University before you sit your HSC exams.

Otherwise, you can be nominated after the ATAR release – up to 8 January.

If you're nominated and would like to come here, you need to apply through the Universities Admissions Centre (UAC), and select at least one University of Sydney course as your first preference.

Once the HSC results are released, we'll send you information about which courses you're eligible for – giving you more options than you would have had based on your ATAR alone. You then choose your preferred option and place it as your first preference. Later you will receive an offer of a place in the UAC main round offer in January.

You may also need to meet extra requirements if applying for a course that requires a portfolio, audition, personal statement or interview.

Breadwinners' Programme

This scholarship/entry scheme is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who want to study towards an undergraduate degree while balancing their work and family responsibilities.

Learn more about the Breadwinners' Programme.

Missed out on your preferred course?

If you don’t qualify for any of the schemes above, you can apply for a related course with a slightly lower ATAR cutoff and transfer into your preferred course with your first-year university results taken into account.

Another option is graduate entry. You could apply for a general undergraduate degree and combine it with a postgraduate qualification in your specific field of interest.

For advice, talk to a course coordinator or careers adviser.