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What Comes Next?

By Leah Moir


The second most frequently asked question about home education (for me personally) has always been about what comes next. How does my child get into further or higher education and the work force without a year 12 certificate? Home educators quickly realise that there’s plenty of options for their children after home education. Often, home educated young people work out a path to their goals, which usually involves applying directly to a TAFE, RTO, or university.


There is a pathway that is often less considered or known about as an option for home educated young people, and that is the pathway that school students often take to university: applying through a university admissions centre. While each of the state’s admissions centres work a little differently, it is worth understanding how they work so you know if this is a viable or even preferable option for you or your child. Today’s post will focus on UAC (the NSW centre) and in particular their Educational Access Scheme. Anyone can apply through UAC if you want to go to any of the institutions they liaise with.


The UAC process involves applicants providing information about their previous education experiences and nominating the courses and institutions that they would like to apply for in order. Each applicant’s educational experience is assessed and ranked so that the universities can then see the results and work out who they want to offer places to. But there are initiatives that UAC use to make access to university more equitable. One of these initiatives is the Education Access Scheme.


The Education Access Scheme (EAS) seeks to redress inequity beyond the automatic socio-economic disadvantage assessment. If an applicant applies for the EAS and provides supporting information, they can be assessed for a range of disadvantages that can allow for adjustment to their ranking. As we all know, the higher an applicant is ranked, the more competitive they are for an offer from a university. The different advantages are all listed on the UAC website here (https://www.uac.edu.au/future-applicants/scholarships-and-schemes/educational-access-schemes/disadvantages-and-documents) and include things like family disruption, illness, disability, and financial hardship.


Some home educating young people come from families who are experiencing financial hardship, purely because so many families are single income in order to home educate. This includes families who receive government payments such as JobKeeper or Family Tax Benefit Part A. Many home educating families choose to home educate because the school system was unable to adequately cater for a child’s learning or other disability, or because the school environment did not foster a healthy mental state for the child. These difficulties fit into EAS disadvantages that can help raise the ranking and therefore the possibility of attending a chosen institution.


This option won’t be for everyone, but there are certainly many that may find this a viable and useful pathway to higher education. In researching this option, I really liked two aspects of what UAC is doing with this scheme. First of all, they view home education as a legitimate form of education. Home educated students are not viewed as ‘less’ by UAC just because they don’t have a year 12 certificate. But the main thing that struck me is the efforts of the Education Access Scheme team to help those that apply through them. I was impressed by the desire to help as many people as possible achieve their dreams. I encourage anyone intrigued by this pathway possibility to enquire more by reading on UACs website about the scheme (https://www.uac.edu.au/future-applicants/scholarships-and-schemes/educational-access-schemes) and even calling and chatting to a member of the Access Unit. They are more than willing to help whomever and however they can.



 

Leah Moir is a home educator, HEA member, career development practitioner and researcher whose work is concerned with alternative career pathways outside the mainstream education system. She explores ways that individual circumstances affect career choices in response to structural and social limitations. Her Master’s thesis is exploring how home educating families prepare their children for the working world.

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A great post Leah. So encouraging. I have heard over the years of our home schooling, so very many families with children at university and my guess is this will only increase over the next years. Great thesis idea!

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