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How to Apply for Early Entry Programs

Before you can even think about applying, you need to fully understand what early entry is.

Some high demand courses such as Teaching, Dentistry, Medicine, and Nursing might have earlier opening and closing dates than other courses – but this doesn’t mean they count as “early entry”, as you’ll still have to wait until results are out to receive an offer.

Early entry is where a university (or other institution) allows you to submit an application before the main application period and receive an offer from them before you’ve even sat an exam.


Fast forward to the application process


The application process isn’t quick, and you’ll need to be prepared to fill in a fair bit of paperwork.

The good news is that this is good practice for once you leave school, when you’ll need to apply for lots of different things.

If you don’t have a portfolio of your achievements already, it’s a good idea to put one together before you start any applications.


Each early entry program is unique


Just as every program has different dates, benefits and eligibility criteria, each program also has a different application process. The good news is that there are some similarities across the programs, so you can follow these steps and skip any that don’t apply for your program.


Step 1 – Get your portfolio ready and organised


Create a portfolio, if you haven’t already, by collecting all your certificates and awards into the one place – everything counts at this stage – then make a list of all your achievements in order from newest to oldest.

You may need to get a copy of your reports and any recent assessment scores – even though you won’t need your ATAR right now (which is good, because you don’t have it). Universities are likely to want to see how you are performing and if there have been any changes. Speak to your teacher or school office about how you can get a hold of those documents.


Step 2 – Find one or more programs to apply for


If you have a specific university in mind, check and see if they have an early entry program available.

Not sure which university you’d like to go to but have an idea about a course? Then start by looking at the universities offering early entry and check if they provide the course(s) you’re interested in studying.

Finally, double check that the course you want to apply for is eligible for early entry. You’ll need to read about the eligibility and application criteria for each early entry program you’re thinking of applying for.

If you’re not sure, contact the universities directly and speak with someone in either the Future Students or Admissions office.


Step 3 – Check the key dates


Make sure you know when applications open, the cut-off or closing date, the notification date and any other important dates such as interview or assessment days.

If the program isn’t open yet, you could start preparing.

If it’s open now, then get your skates on and start your application.

If the program is closed:

  • Double check that you’re not looking at last year’s dates (sometimes the websites aren’t updated until mid-year).
  • Don’t stress if you’re looking at this year’s dates and you’ve missed the cut-off; you can still apply through the traditional stages a little bit later in the year anyway. And on the plus side, you’ve probably already narrowed down your preferences and started to get all your application paperwork in order, which could save you time later on.


Step 4 – Are you eligible to apply?


Each early entry program has their own eligibility criteria, such as:

  • Academic achievement or merit
  • You’re an elite athlete
  • You’re the dux or captain at school
  • You have leadership experience
  • Your school are happy to recommend you
  • You’re an artist, musician or actor
  • You’ve been active in your school or local community
  • You live in a rural or remote part of Australia
  • You’ve been disadvantaged
  • You are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

If you think you fit one of these categories and that makes you eligible to apply for an early entry program, you’ll need to have evidence of your achievements or be able to prove that you meet the eligibility criteria.

If you’re not sure what you need or if you’re eligible, reach out to the university and check before you apply.


Step 5 – Gather the paperwork


You’ll need to fill in an application, but may also need to supply supporting documents. If you need a recommendation from a teacher or your Principal, get that as well.

If you need a letter of recommendation, then make sure you ask the person with plenty of time left, as they are probably busy and it may take them a little while to draft the letter.


Step 6 – Apply to the right people


Do you need to apply directly to the university? Or you need to apply through your state or territory’s TAC? In some cases, you may have to apply both to the university and through a TAC.

Make sure you submit your application on time and pay any fees if there are any.


Step 7 – The assessment


Some universities might assess you purely on the basis of the application and supporting documentation that you’ve supplied.

However, sometimes they’ll also be keen to see if you’re ready for university, so you may be asked to attend an interview, audition, test, or simply supply a letter of recommendation from your school after you’ve submitted your application.

It’s important to prepare yourself for these scenarios so that you can do your best and secure that early offer.


Step 8 – Wait for your outcome


It’s a good idea to keep track of the expected notification date, so you’ll know when you can expect to hear the result of your application.


What’s next?


If your application is successful and you receive an offer, then you can focus on your studies, exams and extracurricular activities for the rest of Year 12 (you’ll still need to do well and pass to take up your offer at the end of the year!).

Make sure you read all the details when you receive your offer about:

  • how to accept you offer;
  • the date you’ll need accept by;
  • if you can defer your offer, and if yes for how long;
  • what happens if you change your mind about the university or course you want to study.

If at any point you’re unsure, remember your first port of call should always be the university.


A final note


If you’re really keen, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria, you can apply for every early entry program available.


Got more questions?


If you still have some questions about early entry and the application process, keep an eye out for our updated Early Entry Guide, coming soon.


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