Does your child want a Headstart at uni? - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Parent Lounge Update

Does your child want a Headstart at uni?

17 Feb 2020

Has your child ever thought about starting university while still in high school? USC’s Headstart Program allows Year 11 and 12 students to get a taste of university life by studying first-year uni subjects on campus and gaining credit towards a future degree.

What is Headstart?

Headstart allows high achieving students the opportunity to challenge themselves and prepare for future study while working towards a USC degree. Offered at all USC campuses, students can select Headstart courses from a wide range of study areas, including criminology, engineering, game design, psychology and more. It’s a great opportunity to try out future career choices or study an area of interest that isn’t offered by their school.

What are the benefits of my child completing Headstart?

Headstart students study on campus, in the same classes as current undergraduate students, and complete the same coursework, assignments and exams. They may also get credit for these Headstart subjects when they come to start their degree, which can reduce their study load and length of their degree.

Headstart can also reduce the overall cost of your child’s degree. USC subsidises the cost of Headstart courses, the first course is free and the second course on only $400 (scholarships are available to eligible applicants to cover this tuition fee).

Completed Headstart courses do not count towards your child’s ATAR but can contribute toward their QCE: one course (with a required standard of achievement of grade of 4 on a 7-point scale, or a Pass grade) counts for two QCE credits.

Students not ATAR eligible can also use their completed Headstart courses to gain entry into their preferred degree — A student’s results in their Headstart courses can be converted to a selection rank to meet the minimum selection threshold for entry into a degree (students still need to meet all pre requisite study for their preferred degree).


What is Headstart like?

Year 11 student, Petra Nunn, has plans to become a doctor and after completing two courses through Headstart is one step closer to that goal. Petra completed a nursing subject and human anatomy subject at USC and said Headstart helped her to become more independent and confident, as well as expand her research and writing skills.

“It is definitely a strong enabler,” said Petra.

“The fact I can be on campus surrounded by older students and still feel really relaxed and know I am more than capable of studying at university-level is really empowering."

“Before doing the program, I had never referenced an academic journal or research paper but now I cannot complete a school assignment without using these for my sources.

“It also teaches you how to balance school, study, part-time work and other interests and manage your time. Being 16, I didn’t really have those skills until going to USC.”

How does my child apply?

To apply for Headstart, your child will need to be doing well at school (achieving at least a B-grade average) and have the skills and motivation to manage additional study alongside their schoolwork and other commitments. They will also need to get the support of their school’s Headstart coordinator, who can help them understand what to expect and step them through the application form.

Where can I find out more information about Headstart?

For advice on how to choose a Headstart course and what to expect, register for USC’s Headstart Information Evenings on Tuesday 17 March at USC Moreton Bay, and Thursday 19 March at USC Sunshine Coast and USC Fraser Coast. You and your child can listen to the experiences of a Headstart student and learn about the process and key dates for applying.

Subscribe to the Parent Lounge Update and keep up-to-date with everything you need to know about uni for your child.

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