ATAR advice: 'Plan B' paths to uni

If your ATAR is lower than expected, there are plenty of stepping stones to degree study.

Macquarie University alone has 11 admission paths, of which 10 assess a student's suitability on more than an Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR).

The University of Notre Dame at Sydney's Broadway assesses on more than ATAR. Students apply direct to Notre Dame, are interviewed and admission staff look at academic record and potential.

Several universities offer diplomas, foundation studies and ''sub bachelor'' study as a way to qualify for uni entry. Diploma fees vary from the free to the tens of thousands at colleges attached to unis, so it pays to shop around.

Depending on entry requirements and grades, successful diploma graduates may migrate straight to second year degree study.

At the Australian Catholic University, HSC students with an ATAR of 50-plus can enrol in a one-year full-time ''sub bachelor'' diploma in educational studies (Tertiary Preparation), which costs about $6560. Successful students can then start a bachelor degree in education.

HSC students with an ATAR of 55 can enrol in a University of Wollongong College diploma of business and if they get the grades, have a ready-made path to UOW degree study. Those with an ATAR 65 who succeed at a diploma of information technology or engineering can likewise progress to bachelor study.

Western Sydney University says its college offers the "best value" pathways in the state, with diploma fees of between $6,561 and $10,951 for 12 months' full-time study. An ATAR of 55 is needed to enrol in a standard diploma. Successful graduates receive guaranteed entry to the second year of the corresponding WSU bachelor degree. Diploma applications close on February 5.

HSC 2017 school leavers have until December 17 to finalise preferences through the University Admission Centre (UAC) for December Round 2 university entry offers.

This story ATAR advice: 'Plan B' paths to uni first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.