Headstart Admissions Guidelines | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Headstart Admissions Guidelines

1. Background

Headstart is an academic enrichment and transition program for Year 10 - 12 students. Year 10 students may only participate in Semester 2 of the UniSC academic calendar.

2. Admission requirements

2.1  Domestic applicants

Domestic applicants are Australian citizens; New Zealand citizens; holders of a permanent residency visa; or holders of a permanent humanitarian visa.

2.1.1 Domestic applicants enrolled with a registered school must:

  • speak English as their first language or satisfy UniSC’s English Language Requirements;
  • be enrolled in Year 10, Year 11 or Year 12 at a registered state or non-government high school/college (including the School of Distance Education);
  • be achieving a minimum B grade average (or equivalent);
  • be capable of undertaking university level study on top of their school workload; and
  • gain written permission from their parent/ guardian and their school.

2.1.2 Domestic applicants being home-schooled must:

  • be turning at least 16 years of age during the semester they wish to study;
  • be registered with the Home Education Unit of the Queensland Department of Education (or relevant State regulatory body);
  • provide evidence that demonstrates a high level of achievement in areas of study equivalent to Year 11 or 12 curriculum or achieve at least 70% User percentile in the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT); and
  • gain written permission of their parent/guardian.

2.2 International applicants enrolled in a Sunshine Coast Alliance school* must:

  • speak English as their first language or satisfy UniSC’s English Language Requirements;
  • 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;
  • have maintained a B grade average (or equivalent) 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.

 * 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
3. Application requirements

To be considered, applicants must submit the approved application form and provide relevant supporting documentation. The application should be submitted by the on-time application date for the relevant semester as per the UniSC Application dates web page. Refer to section 5 of these guidelines for details on late applications.

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. Refer to section 7.
  • The form is to be signed by the student, the School’s 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  Documentation requirements

Applicants must provide adequate documentary evidence of high level of performance. UniSC reserves the right to request additional documentation.

3.2.1 Report Card

Applicants enrolled in a registered school are required to submit their most recent graded report card issued by School or state regulatory body (e.g. Education Queensland).

  • For study in Semester 1, the Semester 2 report card from the previous year is required.
  • For study in Semester 2, submit the most recent graded report card. This may be Semester 1/Term 1 of the current year or Semester 2 from the previous year depending on the timing of the application.

3.2.2 Documentation for home-schooled applicants

Applicants who are home-schooled must provide –

  • Work samples: Samples that display academic achievements to date relevant to the area related to the Headstart course and the student’s writing ability. 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; or
  • Scholastic Aptitude Test results demonstrating minimum requirements as per section 2.1.2 of these guidelines.
  • References: At least 2 written references from community members who can vouch for abilities, work ethic and maturity, such as instrumental music teachers, sports club officials, etc.

It is recommended that applicants who are home-schooled but have recently attended a registered school provide copies of their most recent report card.

3.2.3 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.

3.2.4 Cases for special consideration

Schools who wish to support 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. This may include a statement of suitability and/or evidence of an assessment tool from the School.

4. Assessment of applications

4.1  School pre-assessment

  • Prior to submission of the application to UniSC, 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 UniSC.

4.2  UniSC assessment

  • Applications will be assessed by the UniSC 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.
4.3 Withdrawal of School Support

Where the School identifies a concern with a student’s capability or suitability to undertake university level study, the school Headstart Coordinator may, at any point prior to the commencement of Headstart classes, withdraw the School’s support for the student to participate in Headstart.

Where School support has been withdrawn, UniSC will cancel the Headstart offer. The student may apply for a future intake of Headstart, and will be assessed in accordance with the admission and application requirements of these guidelines.

5. Late applications

Late applications may be considered on a case-by-case basis after the on-time closing date at the discretion of the Manager, Admission and Progression. Late applications will not be considered after the commencement of UniSC classes.

6. Courses and enrolment

6.1  Course limits

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 UniSC 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. These courses are not available to students who are being homeschooled.
  • 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.

6.4  Course enrolments and withdrawals

6.4.1  Course enrolments

UniSC will enrol students in courses and provide Headstart students with instructions on choosing their classes.

6.4.2  Course withdrawal

UniSC will notify students after they commence classes of the process to withdraw from their Headstart course. Relevant withdrawal dates are located on then UniSC’s Academic Calendar.

Students should be aware of the following:

  • Students who withdraw after the semester Census Date but before the last day to withdraw without academic penalty remain liable for tuition fees as per section 8 of these guidelines.
  • Students who withdraw after the last date to withdraw without academic penalty will receive a fail grade and remain liable for tuition fees as per section 8 of these guidelines.
  • Students who believe they have special circumstances for withdrawing after Census date may submit an application for Withdrawal from Course Due to Special Circumstances to be considered for both removal of academic penalty (if applicable) and removal financial liability.
7.0 Application requirements for a second or subsequent course
  • Continuation into subsequent Headstart courses is dependent on successful completion of all prior Headstart courses (Pass grade or higher). Students must complete a Headstart Continuing Enrolment form. Application requirements under section 3 apply.
  • Students who have withdrawn from their preceding Headstart course enrolment prior to Census date must -
    • Submit a New Headstart application form, if the withdrawal was from their first Headstart course.
    • Submit a Continuing Headstart Enrolment form, if the withdrawal was from a second or subsequent course.
  • Students who have withdrawn from a 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

  • UniSC 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 from an Alliance School

  • Tuition fees for a maximum of 12 Alliance international students per semester are subsidised. These places are allocated by the Alliance and those students will not be charged tuition fees for their first Headstart course.
  • 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.

8.2  Additional costs

All Headstart 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. UniSC 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.
  • Headstart 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 UniSC to provide full internet access to the student for the purpose of their studies and educational activities in accordance with the University’s ICT policies.
  • UniSC 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 UniSC, the Headstart student’s enrolment or internet access as applicable will be cancelled by UniSC, which may impact on the student’s study results.
  • By signing the application form, the applicant 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 which will be forwarded directly to Headstart students.
  • Unofficial transcripts can also be downloaded by the student from UniSC Central at any time.

10.2  Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) points

  1. 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). Results will be uploaded to the QCAA portal by the UniSC Admissions team.
  2. Students outside of Queensland are not eligible to receive QCE Points. Headstart does not contribute points towards other state senior certificates
11. Entry to a UniSC degree program

11.1  Applying for a UniSC degree program

Headstart students must follow the standard application process and meet all entry requirements for their desired degree program at UniSC. Refer to UniSC website for details.

11.2  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. The selection rank is based on the grades achieved in all Headstart courses undertaken. The selection rank can be used when applying for entry to a UniSC degree to meet the degree’s minimum selection threshold instead of the ATAR or rank from other qualifications (e.g. Certificate III).

11.3  Adjustment Factors

Students who successfully complete a UniSC 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 UniSC scheme. Adjustment factors are applied to the ATAR not the selection rank derived for completion of two or more Headstart courses (refer to section 11.2) or other qualifications (eg diploma).

11.4 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 UniSC degree programs.