Can my teen go to uni without an ATAR?

Two teens sitting together by a laptop

You might be surprised to find out the answer is ‘yes.’ Murdoch’s enabling pathways make it simple.

Your child has been told not to study ATAR – does this mean uni isn’t an option for them now?

While this can be devastating for your teen to hear, it doesn’t determine their future. Your teen’s school may have your child’s best interests in mind, feeling that they wouldn’t excel under the pressure of ATAR.

This is in no way a reflection on your teen, their skills or their intelligence and does not mean that they will not excel at university. In fact, many students who flourish at the university level have had a hard time at high school.

So not having an ATAR doesn’t mean the end of your teen’s education journey.

No matter your circumstances, if your child wants to go to uni, we have a way to get them there. Keep reading to learn how to get into uni without an ATAR.

Year 12 Early Offer Program

Teens who are graduating from Year 12 in 2023 can apply to study at Murdoch in 2024 using their Year 11 ATAR subject results or their Year 12 mid-year ATAR subject results, or even through a recognised pathway (like a Certificate IV or an enabling program). 

This is perfect for teens who are worried about the pressure of Year 12 impacting their results and means your teen could be be offered a place to their chosen course ahead of time, on the condition that they complete Year 12 or their recognised pathway. 

See if your teen is eligible for our Year 12 Early Offers Program

Enabling Pathway Courses

Murdoch values a diverse learning environment where people from all kinds of academic backgrounds can thrive as members of our community.

We understand everyone’s journey is not the same. That’s why we have created a number of enabling pathway courses designed to prepare your teen for admissions to Murdoch even if they don’t have an ATAR (or didn’t quite get the score they need).

Our enabling pathways include the below features:

  • They are free of charge.
  • They give your teen the opportunity to develop the academic skills in areas like literacy and critical thinking they’ll need to succeed at uni.
  • They provide support in exploring undergraduate course options and identifying the area of study that fits your teen’s goals and interests.
  • They help your teen build a network of peers and academic staff who can support them in their transition to university life.
  • When successfully completed, they qualify your teen for direct entry into a wide range of undergraduate courses.

With a range of enabling pathways to choose from, your teen could consider OnTrack Flex or K-Track.  

Research undertaken by Murdoch Lecturer Dr Joanne Lisciandro has shown that students that enter Murdoch via the OnTrack enabling program remained in their first year undergraduate studies at a rate that was similar or better than students entering via all other admission pathways, including ATAR*. This study focuses on historical data, however more recent university data suggests that these findings hold true, and students that enter via enabling pathways may sometimes experience academic hurdles, but they are more likely persevere and demonstrate resilience.

Murdoch alumnus Jim thought he had missed his opportunity to study at university - however, he soon realised that Murdoch has many flexible entry pathways in place to help students, watch his story: 

More options for uni without an ATAR

The enabling pathways courses are a great way for students without an ATAR to prepare for admission to Murdoch. We truly believe in the potential of each student and have created these courses as a simple way to expand the options for those hoping to study at university.

Taking one of these courses isn’t the only possible path, however. Your teen could, for instance, apply to Murdoch on the basis of their TAFE or VET certificate.

Lilly, now a postgraduate student at Murdoch, began her university journey that way. Though she struggled academically in high school, she has thrived in her study of forensic science.

Another option is portfolio entry, which allows your child to demonstrate their academic achievements, ability, and qualifications through a presentation of their work. 

As you can see, your teen’s dream of attending university isn’t over with no ATAR. Murdoch has a pathway to make that dream a reality.

*First-year university retention and academic performance of non-traditional students entering via an Australian pre-university enabling program

Still unsure about your teen’s options? Check out all the pathways available for Murdoch University, or speak to our friendly team at 1300 687 3624. You can also assist your teen in their transition from high school to university by attending an upcoming Murdoch event

Posted on:

17 Apr 2023

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