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When should your child apply for tertiary study?

While your child is probably focused on making it through high school or enjoying their gap year, as a parent, it’s only natural to be planning out their next step – tertiary study. Depending on their university or college of choice, there’ll be different application processes in place, each of which likely has its own unique cut-off dates and requirements.

So, the big question is: how urgent is applying for university, college or TAFE? When should you start to think about what’s next for your child, and encourage them to do the same?

While there’s no right or wrong answer to this question, the consensus is the sooner, the better! Here are a few things to consider that will help you to support your child throughout the process of applying for tertiary study.

Applying in Year 12

If your child is still in high school, but knows that a gap year is already on the cards, they might not see the point in going through the applications process in Year 12. However, applying directly to the university or through your state’s admissions system (e.g. QTAC, UAC, VTAC and so on) while still in Year 12 is the best way to get started on those future plans and alleviate stress ahead of a year off.

Here at Bond, prospective students can skip QTAC or their state’s equivalent by applying directly via our website. As long as your child has received their first semester results from Year 12, they’ll be able to apply and, if successful, receive a conditional offer to study with us that will be validated upon completion of Year 12 and their final results.

Having this peace of mind early on in their journey can really take the pressure off, allowing them to enjoy their gap year uninhibited. It'll also give them a goal to work towards throughout their gap year and will put your mind at ease as a parent that they’ve got a plan going forward. There’s so much to gain from getting in early!


Of course, you might be wondering: if my child is taking a gap year, then what’s the point of applying to uni in Year 12? Can’t they just wait until later to start this process? Although it’s possible, logistically it’s much easier to apply first and then defer an offer than beginning an application after Year 12 has ended.

Deferring an offer just means postponing it for a semester or a year, and can be done through your child’s university of choice or tertiary admissions system. How long you can defer the offer for is based on the university in question. At Bond, you can easily defer your offer for up to two years in a few quick steps using our online application portal.

If your child is still not sold on the idea of applying in high school, that’s okay – above all, it’s important they feel like they’re able to take the time to work out what feels right. Tertiary education isn’t a lost cause just because they take some time off; there are always options no matter what stage of life your child is in.

Bond accepts high school results up to two years after completion, and offers guaranteed entry to students who have graduated Year 12 with an ATAR of 91 or higher within this two-year period. There are also many pathway options available through Bond University College that’ll help your child get uni-ready if they’ve taken an extended gap year or don’t meet these requirements.

What if they change their mind? 

Okay, so your child is taking a gap year – but what if they wake up one day and have changed their mind? Suddenly, they’re keen to start their studies rather than continue with the full year off and you’re not sure how to help them capitalise on that motivation. Don’t panic! There are always options, and universities and colleges can often be flexible or provide support to deal with changing minds. At Bond, our three-semester-per-year timetable means that even if your child feels like they’ve gotten the most out of their gap year when they hit the halfway point, they could change their starting semester and begin uni in September.

Applying for university is complicated, and even more so when you and your child are still working out their future plans. Their university journey, just like their gap year, doesn’t have to be set in stone, and tertiary institutions usually consider this when setting up their admissions and deferral processes. Encourage your child to take the time to work out what’s right for them, and if in doubt, to get a foot in the door early by applying in Year 12, as this can always be adapted to their evolving path.

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