University Placements – What Can You Do If Your Child Missed Out?

Pathways to University Placements in Queensland - Young Woman at the Library

Got yourself a teen sitting at home watching YouTube videos while their peers are off to university?  In Australia, the university year runs from March to November and places are tight.  There are relatively few universities in Queensland, and some specialise, making entry requirements more competitive than in other countries.

You may have spent the last few years discussing career options with your child, only to learn that they have missed out on their preferred university placement.  In other cases, school leavers decide that they want to study at university but did not finish Year 12, or didn’t do the right prerequisite subjects.

The good news is that what seems like a huge obstacle towards a future career may be more achievable than you or your child realise. Read on to find out what alternative pathways are available.


What are the different pathways to university in Queensland?


Bridging Programs and Foundation Courses at University

If your child does not currently have the prerequisites or ATAR to get into the university course they want, they can still work their way up with a bridging program or foundation courses. Bridging programs include short intensive courses to meet subject prerequisites. Foundation courses, such as a diploma or enabling course, are longer and help students meet the required knowledge and skills for undergraduate courses. Your child can also work their way up with lower-level undergraduate courses.


There are three ways that TAFE can be used to increase selection ranks or gain course requirements for undergraduate degrees.  If you’re new to the Queensland education system, TAFE is what’s known as “community college” or “trade school” in other countries.

  1. Certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees
  2. Adult tertiary preparation courses
  3. Bridging courses

Online RTO Certification

RTOs are nationally recognised vocational education and training providers. RTOs have a range of purposes, helping students get qualifications to start or switch careers, upskill, or gain university placements in Queensland and across Australia. They offer certificate I-IVs, diplomas, advanced diplomas and graduate certificates and diplomas. TAFE and some universities are also RTOs.

RTOs let students study a certificate online. While universities and TAFE also have online study options for some courses, RTOs tend to have dedicated online study resources and focus on an experience that is conducive to a student’s learning and support.

What kind of students are suited to online RTO course studies?

Every child has a different learning style. Online study allows those with different lifestyles to learn at their own speed in their preferred environment. All your child will need is access to the internet.

So, who would benefit from learning online from an RTO?

  • Students who are intimidated by the self-managed approach to study that university requires and want to ease into it.
  • Students who want the flexibility of online study, especially if they want to work part-time while studying.
  • Students who want to get qualifications quickly. Most of the time, certificates will take 4-18 months and diplomas will take 1-2 years to complete full-time.
  • Students who live or work in regional or remote areas that do not have easy access to a physical education campus.

Even though it seems like the common pathway is high school straight into a university degree, this isn’t the case for everyone. Just because your child missed out on university placement doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity for education! And with modern technology, online study allows your child to do education their way.




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