The Early Admission Scheme for Exceptionally Talented Students provides an opportunity for students of exceptional intellectual ability who are still in school to enrol in University courses or programs, despite the fact that they have not yet completed the New South Wales Higher School Certificate (or do not have other qualifications recognised for entry to UNSW). Early admission is not intended as an alternative method of admission for highly capable students progressing normally through their final years of secondary school. Students given early admission would be expected to be of such outstanding ability that they may be the single most exceptional individual in their age cohort in New South Wales in any year with their remarkable talent manifested in one or more disciplines.
Who will benefit from Early Admission?
In general, early admission may be appropriate for an applicant who is an exceptional student, aged fifteen or younger and:
- currently enrolled in high school but not yet in Year 11, (unless accelerated by one or more years)
- consistently scores in the very top range in standardised ability and achievement tests;
- has an outstanding school achievement record;
- has the maturity and family support to cope with university attendance;
- performs exceptionally in the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) at a level which indicates potential capacity for university study, and;
- has educational needs that cannot be met by remaining in the available schools.
What programs are available?
Early Admission applicants may be admitted to the Bachelor of Science degree program, the Bachelor of Arts or Social Science degree program, or to individual courses offered within these degree programs. Admission is not offered to professional programs or courses, such as those offered in the Faculties of Medicine or Law.
There are various patterns of study at UNSW, and applicants may be admitted to:
- An individual course, as a non-award enrolment, where the results may be credited towards later enrolment in an undergraduate degree program; or
- A part-time study load in an undergraduate program; or
- A full-time study load in an undergraduate program.
Part-time or full-time enrolment is based on the study load you take in each semester and can change from semester to semester.
Withdrawal and transfer options
UNSW regulations permit a student to withdraw without penalty, that is without having a failure recorded against their record, in any course or courses within a given period after enrolment. Special consideration is also available to students after that date in circumstances such as serious illness, family distress, or misadventure. Transferring from part-time to full-time enrolment and vice-versa is easily possible if you apply within the appropriate time after enrolment.
What does it mean to study at university?
A modern Australian university is a large and impersonal place, and merely getting to and from classes is no easy task. Early Admission applicants require some maturity to deal with older young adults and to put themselves forward with requests for help and advice from university staff on academic, personal and practical matters. Applicants will also need the maturity to sustain a constant stream of completed assignments and independent work throughout a two-semester program each year. Study at university is a demanding task and students will be heavily dependent upon family and friends for support.
The University offers a Counselling Service for its students, and each Faculty and School has student advisers; but the challenge of transition from high school to University should not be underestimated.
What will it cost?
On 1 January 2005, the Australian Government implemented a new system of funding and administration for higher education. Most of the changes apply to local students and include a new Higher Education Loan Scheme (HELP), new scholarships and new student contribution amounts.
A Commonwealth supported place (previously known as a HECS place) is a higher education place for which the Commonwealth makes a contribution towards the cost of the student's education. Students pay a student contribution amount (previously known as HECS charge), which varies depending on courses undertaken. In addition, allowance should be made for the cost of books, materials, transport, food and appropriate living allowances. The University assumes that students entering under the Early Admission facility will continue to live in a family setting. Please note that Non award enrolment is on a full fee basis, see the Fees page for further information on Commonwealth Supported places, HECS-Help and Fees.
How do you apply for the scheme?
A completed application form and documentation should be lodged with the University by 31 July in the year prior to commencement of studies in Semester 1 (please note that late applications are not accepted under any circumstances). The questionnaire section of the application is designed to assess personal and social readiness for university level work and motivation to undertake such work. Applicants will be required to demonstrate that their educational needs will not be met by taking advantage of the provisions for accelerated progression within the school system.
Application forms are available on request from the Head, UAC Admissions and the additional documentation required includes:
- References from schools showing achievement by relevant teachers, results of your school tests and examinations
- Performance results in any external exams or competitions relating to areas of special competence
- Any profiles, if available, on individual measures of general ability, such tests as WISC, Stanford-Binet, etc;
- Any samples of original work in relevant domains, such as computer programming, art-work, literary compositions, essays, exceptional projects, etc, with the ages you completed them;
- Letters of reference from non-family professionals who know the applicant personally.
If the written application qualifies an applicant for further consideration, one or more interviews may be required to establish the appropriateness of formal enrolment in either a single course or a full degree program. It is customary for both the applicant and his or her parents to be interviewed by a small group of Faculty representatives.
Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT)
Following the interview, applicants will be advised to register for the SAT if considered eligible to proceed. The SAT is regularly used as a matriculation measure in the USA as it tests both verbal and quantitative ability as applied to data interpretation tasks. Candidates will be evaluated on their performance in the relevant section of the SAT. Applicants are responsible for paying the registration fee and any other associated costs, and will receive information on the test supplied by the SAT authorities prior to the test date. Because of the demands of the four hours duration of the test, applicants should carefully consider whether they want to engage in such an experience before applying for Early Admission. Further information on the SAT (including where the test can be taken in Australia) is available at the College Board website.
Scientia Challenge Program
The Gifted Education Research, Resource and Information Centre (GERRIC)
UNSW is an active partner with New South Wales schools in encouraging provision for the needs of gifted and talented children. Individual staff of the University have for many years conducted occasional classes both in high schools and on campus in a number of discipline areas. Since 1990, the University has offered the Scientia Challenge Program twice yearly in July and January for gifted students in Years 7-10. Contact GERRIC for more information about these two-day workshops.
For further information:
Head, UAC Admissions
The Admissions Office
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
SYDNEY NSW 2052
Tel: 61 2 9385 3089