Headstart Admissions Guidelines - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Headstart Admissions Guidelines

1. Background

Headstart is a transition program that provides the opportunity for Year 11 and 12 students to study USC courses while still completing high school.

2. Application requirements
2.1. Domestic students enrolled in a registered school

These requirements relate to domestic students (ie Australian citizens; New Zealand citizens; holders of a permanent residency visa; or holders of a permanent humanitarian visa) enrolled in a registered state school, independent school or school of distance education.

Applicants must:

  • speak English as their first language or satisfy USC’s English Language Requirements;
  • be enrolled in Year 11 or Year 12 at a registered state or independent school, including the School of Distance Education;
  • be achieving a minimum B grade average;
  • be capable of undertaking university level study on top of their school workload;
  • have written permission from their parent/ guardian to undertake Headstart study;
  • have the approval of their school to participate in the Headstart program; and
  • have a Learner Unique Identifier issued by the QCAA.
2.2. International students enrolled in a Sunshine Coast Alliance school

These requirements relate to international students (ie temporary visa holders) who are enrolled in one of the following Sunshine Coast Alliance schools:

  • Bribie Island State High School
  • Caloundra State High School
  • Chancellor State College
  • Coolum State High School
  • Kawana Waters State College
  • Maleny State High School
  • Maroochydore State High School
  • Meridan State College
  • Mountain Creek State High School
  • Nambour State College
  • Sunshine Beach State High School

Applicants must:

  • be a Year 12 student enrolled in an Alliance school in the year of participation in the Headstart program;
  • be ATAR or International Baccalaureate Diploma eligible;
  • speak English as their first language or satisfy USC’s English Language Requirements;
  • have maintained a B grade average across their Year 11 studies;
  • be capable of undertaking university level study on top of their Year 12 workload;
  • have the written permission of their parent/ guardian to undertake Headstart study;
  • have the approval of their school to participate in the Headstart program; and
  • have a Learner Unique Identifier issued by the QCAA.
2.3. Home-schooled students

These requirements relate to students who are home-schooled.

Applicants must:

  • speak English as their first language or satisfy USC’s English Language Requirements;
  • be registered with the Home Education Unit of the Queensland Department of Education;
  • be turning at least 16 years of age during the semester they wish to study;
  • provide evidence that demonstrates a high level of achievement in areas of study equivalent to Year 11 or 12 curriculum;
  • be capable of undertaking university level study on top of their home-schooling workload;
  • have the written permission of their parent / guardian to undertake Headstart study; and
  • have the approval of the person registered with the Home Education Unit of relevant state Department of Education as being responsible for the applicant’s education.
3. Documentation requirements

All applicants are required to submit the relevant application form and provide supporting documentation to enable their application to be assessed.

3.1. Application form

Applicants for their first course are required to complete a Headstart Application form. Applicants for subsequent courses are required to complete a Headstart Continuing Enrolment form. The form is to be signed by the student, the school Headstart Coordinator and the parent/guardian. For students who are home-schooled, the Teacher Statement of Support should be signed by the person registered with the Home Education Unit of the relevant state Department of Education as being responsible for the applicant’s education.

3.2. Report cards

Applicants enrolled in a registered school are required to submit their most recent report card that includes grades. For study in Semester 1, submit the Semester 2 report card from the previous year. For study in Semester 2, submit the most recent graded report card. This may be Semester 1 of the current year, Term 1 of the current year (if the report contains grades) or Semester 2 from the previous year depending on the timing of the application. USC reserves the right to request more recent or older reports at any time. Applicants who are home-schooled but have recently attended a registered school should provide copies of their most recent report card.

3.3. Work samples

Applicants who are home-schooled are required to provide work samples to support their application that they feel best display their academic achievements to date. Work samples should demonstrate the student’s writing ability as well as ability in the area related to the Headstart course they are applying for. For example, if applying for a mathematics based Headstart course, work samples provided should include a written piece to demonstrate written communication skills and mathematics pieces to demonstrate mathematical functions the student is capable in.

3.4. References

Applicants who are home-schooled are also required to provide at least 2 copies of written references from community members who can vouch for their abilities, work ethic and maturity such as instrumental music teachers, sports club officials, etc. USC reserves the right to request additional written references and/or supporting documents if required.

3.5. Other documentation

Applicants who have completed other qualifications at AQF Certificate III level or higher may include copies of transcripts and completion certificates to support their application.

3.6. Cases for special consideration

Schools who wish to submit applications for applicants who do not meet the eligibility requirement of a minimum B average are required to submit a written case for special consideration outlining the reasons why the student may not be achieving at the required level and what support the school has in place for the student.

4. Assessment of applications

Prior to submission of the application to USC, the school Headstart Coordinator will determine the student’s eligibility in terms of whether they have a B grade average, they meet any prerequisites for their chosen course and their capability to undertake university level study. Schools should not submit applications for students who they believe do not meet the requirements, including English language proficiency requirements for students who are from a non-English speaking background.

Applications for international students must be approved by the Alliance prior to submission to USC.

Once submitted to USC, applications will be assessed by the USC Admissions team.

Some courses may have additional eligibility criteria that need to be met prior to a Headstart offer being made. Applicants for language courses may be required to undertake language specific tests as part of the assessment of their application.

Home-schooled applicants’ supporting documentation may be referred to the relevant Course Coordinator for assessment.

Home-schooled applicants may also be required to attend an interview with the relevant Course Coordinator to determine eligibility.

5. Late applications

Applications should be submitted by the on-time application date for the relevant semester as per the USC Application dates web page. Late applications may be considered on a case by case basis after this date at the discretion of the Manager, Admission and Progression. Late applications will not be considered after the commencement of USC classes.

6. Courses
6.1. Maximum number of courses

Students can complete a maximum of four (4) courses under the Headstart program. Students can enrol in a maximum of one (1) course per semester.

6.2. Approved courses

The list of approved Headstart courses is published on the Headstart page of the USC website and in the Headstart Guide (course information in the Headstart Guide is accurate at the time of printing, however course offerings may change so please refer to the website for the most up-to-date information). If a course is approved as a Headstart course, it will be available to Headstart students at any campus on which the course is available in the semester of offering.

6.3. Course prerequisites

Some courses have prerequisites for Headstart students including relevant high school study (eg Biology), enrolment in a particular Year level at high school (eg Year 12 only), prerequisite university courses or language assessments. Applicants are required to meet any such prerequisites prior to admission. Only students completing a standard Queensland school curriculum or equivalent (eg IB) are eligible to apply for courses with specific subject or Year level prerequisites.

7. Application requirements for a second or subsequent course

Students may continue into a second Headstart course providing they successfully complete their first Headstart course (Pass grade or higher). Continuation into subsequent Headstart courses is dependent on successful completion of all prior Headstart courses.

Applicants for their second or subsequent courses are required to complete a Headstart Continuing Enrolment form. The form is to be signed by the student, the school Headstart Coordinator and the parent/guardian. For students who are home-schooled, the Teacher Statement of Support should be signed by the person registered with the Home Education Unit of relevant state Department of Education as being responsible for the applicant’s education.

If the second Headstart course applied for has prerequisites, an updated Report Card must be provided.

USC checks previous semesters’ results for continuing Headstart students to ensure they have successfully completed prior courses. If a continuing Headstart student fails a Headstart course, their enrolment in the second or subsequent course will be cancelled and they will be withdrawn from the Headstart program.

Students who have withdrawn from their first Headstart course prior to census are permitted to reapply as a New Headstart student.

Students who have withdrawn from their first Headstart course after census are not permitted to reapply for Headstart.

Students who have withdrawn from their second or subsequent Headstart course prior to census are permitted to reapply as a Continuing Headstart student.

Students who have withdrawn from their second or subsequent Headstart course after census are not permitted to reapply for Headstart.

8. Tuition fees and scholarships
8.1. Course contributions

8.1.1. Domestic students

USC subsidises the tuition fees for domestic Headstart students. Students in their first Headstart course will not be charged a course contribution fee.

Domestic students undertaking a second or subsequent Headstart course will be charged a course contribution fee of $400.

8.1.2. International students

Tuition fees for a maximum of 12 Alliance international students per semester are subsidised. These places are allocated by the Alliance.

Students approved by the Alliance in their first Headstart course will not be charged tuition fees.

Places are available in addition to the 12 subsidised places at the visiting student full fee rate per course minus 15% partner institution discount.

Students approved by the Alliance in their second or subsequent Headstart courses will be charged tuition fees of $400.

Places are available in addition to the 12 subsidised places at the visiting student full fee rate per course minus 15% partner institution discount.

8.2. Additional costs

All students are expected to meet the costs normally incurred with the course including textbooks, photocopying, printing, travel, field trips and any other study-related costs.

8.3. Scholarships

Scholarships are available each semester for domestic Headstart students which cover the $400 course contribution fee that applies to the second and subsequent Headstart course.

Applications for scholarships can be made when students complete the Continuing Headstart Application form. Eligibility requirements apply.

9. USC student policies

Headstart students will be issued with a student number and will have access to the University Library and to the University IT services. Students will be subject to the provisions of the University’s statutes and regulations during their enrolment. Each application must be signed by parents/guardians thereby giving consent to USC to provide full internet access to the student for the purpose of their studies and educational activities in accordance with USC’s ICT policies. USC will not be responsible for the content that may be viewed on the internet. By refusing consent, or later withdrawing consent by written notice to USC, the student’s enrolment or internet access as applicable will be cancelled by USC, which may impact on the student’s study results.

By signing the application form, the student consents to parents/guardians and the nominated school coordinator being granted access to information regarding their enrolment during the semester.

10. Completion of Headstart
10.1. Certificates of completion

Students will be provided with a Certificate of Completion for each Headstart course they successfully complete. These will be forwarded to the school Headstart coordinator for distribution to students, with the exception of courses completed in Semester 2 of Year 12. Certificates of Completion for courses completed in Semester 2 of Year 12 will be forwarded directly to students.

10.2. Academic transcripts

Unofficial transcripts can be downloaded by the student from USC Central at any time.

10.3. Entry to a USC degree program

10.3.1. Applying for a USC degree program

Domestic students who have completed the Headstart program apply for entry to a USC degree program through the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC). Students must list their Headstart study on their QTAC application to have it considered as part of their application. International students who have completed Headstart should complete an International Student Application form and submit it to USC International.

10.3.2. Selection ranks

Headstart students who complete at least two (2) Headstart courses are eligible for a tertiary selection rank via the relevant QTAC Admissions Schedule. This selection rank can be used when applying for entry to a USC degree. Selection ranks are calculated on the grades achieved in all Headstart courses undertaken.

10.3.3. Entry requirements and prerequisites

All students are required to meet all entry requirements to a USC degree program. Completion of two (2) or more Headstart courses does not automatically guarantee entry into USC degree programs. A Headstart student’s selection rank needs to meet the minimum selection threshold to gain entry into a USC degree program. Two or more Pass grades may not give a high enough selection rank to meet the entry requirements for all USC degree programs. Alternatively, the student may have an OP, ATAR or Selection Rank that meets the minimum selection threshold. Headstart students must also meet any subject or other prerequisites that are required for entry into the USC degree program they are applying for.

10.3.4. Credit for prior study

Students who successfully complete a Headstart course with a Pass grade or higher may be eligible for credit for prior study towards related USC degree programs.

10.4. Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) points

Headstart students will receive two (2) points towards their Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) for each Headstart course they successfully complete with a Pass grade or above, up to the maximum allowable limit set by the Queensland Curriculum & Assessment Authority (QCAA).

10.5. Headstart Subject Bonus Adjustments

Students who successfully complete a USC Headstart course will receive an adjustment of one (1) selection rank per course, up to a maximum adjustment of four (4) selection ranks under the Access USC scheme.