How to get into university without an OP
THERE is more than one way to make it to university, says a Gold Coast education expert.
And instead of youth and OP results determining places, Southern Cross University is seeing significant numbers of mature-age students entering tertiary studies by alternative means, including life and work experiences and training.
Professor Nan Bahr, deputy vice-chancellor and dean of education at Southern Cross University, is an advocate for education at any age and believes it is never too late for university, even if your high school graduate scores don't add up.
"It is unfortunate, isn't it, we tend to focus so much on the end of secondary schooling?" Prof Bahr said.
"That ultimate point which somebody makes a judgment and is given a single number, it seems so unkind."
Prof Bahr says people still looking to get into university can reach their dream qualifications with patience and hard work, even without great secondary school marks.
"The reality is if you don't get what you need to get into the program of your dreams, there are plenty of other ways to skin a cat," Prof Bahr said.
"You can go into a program that is perhaps not what you wanted but then transfer across. You can do training through private providers and build your skills and quite often they can help you gain entry and even advanced standing."
Southern Cross University offered a free program for those seeking help into study, called Preparing for Success. It was open to Australians over 18 and was available online or on campus.
"The students that do that program, despite their OP or prior experience, tend to do very well," Prof Bahr said.
Graduates of the three-month program could also transfer with advanced learning.
"It is a program that addresses students' writing skills, their approach to study, self organisation and understanding of assessment," she said.
"It is a confidence building and skill building program.
"Many, many people have gone on to do extraordinarily well despite their OPs."
Prof Bahr said SCU had an increase in students coming in from alternative pathways.
"As a regional university we have a different demographic than most, so the average age of our students is 26,'' she said.
"Probably 60 per cent of our students come in as mature age so they aren't using OPs to start with us, they are using a range of their own experiences and training.
"You always have your chance to turn your life around. University is for everybody. There is no reason why someone who wants to apply themselves and has an open mind can't line up at university alongside everybody else."