We value who you are, not what mark you got. If you didn’t receive good academic results at school, or you didn’t finish school and started working or serving instead, don’t worry – it’s still possible to study what you love.

Is this pathway for me?

We know that many of your most valuable lessons were taught outside a classroom. That’s why you can draw from your work or life experiences as part of your application to study one of our courses.

To take advantage of this pathway, simply provide evidence of your work experience and skill level with your application to the relevant state Tertiary Admissions Centre. 

You can also pair your work experience with a Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) if needed.

Please note: Some courses might have exceptions to applicants using this pathway, while other courses may have additional entry requirements.

Who should use this pathway

You should use this pathway if you are solely using your employment experience and/or the STAT as part of your application.

If you finished Year 12, even if it was many years ago, that’s OK: your results remain valid indefinitely. You can add them to your application – along with any other qualifications you may have – through one of the following pathways: 


Not all of our pathway options are available to our international students, but we’re working on it. 

If you’re based internationally, you can see what pathways are available to you by visiting our international pathways page.

Find out more about international pathways 

We offer a range of pathways for our future students who identify as Indigenous Australians.

Check out these pathways by visiting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pathway page 

Find out more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pathways

How to apply with the work and life experience pathway 

Follow this step-by-step guide to find out how you can use your previous work and life experience as part of your application. 

1. Check your experience and skill level

When you apply at a state tertiary admissions centre such as VTAC, QTAC or UAC, you will have the opportunity to use your work, life or service experience. 

If your experience is eligible, the TAC will allocate you a selection rank on the basis of your skill level and/or length of service.

Employment eligibility

You must have been in paid employment for a minimum of six months full-time (or equivalent) to be eligible for a selection rank based on employment experience. 

This might be continuous employment with one employer, or periods of employment doing the same job with different employers.

You will need to provide a statement of service from your employer about the role performed and the length of time you have been employed.

If you were self-employed or had periods of self-employment, you must provide a statement from your accountant, solicitor or tax agent confirming the role performed and the duration you were self-employed in this role.

Know your skill level

You can determine your skill level by visiting the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) for reference.

Visit the ANZSCO website

2. Consider the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)

If you are 21 years or older and have no formal education qualification, you should consider sitting the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT).

The test is multiple choice and low results are ignored, so there’s no downside or risk for your application chances.

You register and sit your test through your local state Tertiary Admissions Centre. 

Learn more about the Special Tertiary Admissions Test

3. Consider a pathway course

If you’re a domestic student, you can also consider applying for one of our pathway courses.

These courses are very accessible. If you haven't got an ATAR, or your ATAR isn't what you were hoping for, you can apply to study a Foundation Course. Our other pathway courses usually require a secondary school certificate, relevant work experience or a history of community engagement.

Apply directly to ACU for any of these pathway courses. Successful completion of most of these courses will put you in advance standing for one of our undergraduate degrees.

Learn more about these courses – including descriptions, entry requirements and applying directly to ACU – by choosing the specific course page from the list below:

4. Mention any defence force service

If you served in the defence force, the Tertiary Admissions Centre will assign your application a selection rank based on your defence force rank – such as private, corporal or sergeant – and your time in service.

You will need to mention your employment in the defence force as part of your application, as well as provide evidence. 

Proficiency and prerequisites

Depending on your rank and time served, you may still need to provide evidence of your English proficiency. 

Your experience also can’t be used for any other subject prerequisites.

If you have defence force experience but no other formal qualifications, we encourage you to sit the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) – especially if you were ranked private, corporal, lance corporal or equivalent.

Read about the Special Tertiary Admissions Test

Alternatively, you can complete a VET or bridging course of certificate IV level or above.

5. Start your application

When you know what experiences and/or tests you’ll be providing with your application, it’s time to start applying. 

You can read our guide to applying for an undergraduate course — including what else you’ll need to provide and any other entry requirements — by visiting our how to apply section.

Start your application for your undergraduate course

Alternatively, if you’re sure you have everything you need to get your application underway immediately, visit the relevant Tertiary Admissions Centre: 


Need help? Contact us

Come talk to us at AskACU or student support if you need any help with the work and life experience pathway. We’re happy to point you in the right direction.

Email AskACU

Search our FAQ knowledge database

Call us on 1300 275 228.

International students

Contact the friendly team at international student support


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Undergraduate requirements

Make sure you’re aware of our undergraduate entry requirements, including where to view specific requirements for your preferred course.

Learn more

Important academic dates

Learn about the key dates on the academic calendar, including application deadlines, census dates and class timetables.

View dates

More entry programs

Didn’t find the right pathway for you? No problem. Return to our list of pathways to see if any others can help you study with us.

Back to pathways

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