The Higher School Certificate is the highest educational award you can gain in NSW schools. This certificate is issued by the NSW Board of Studies and is presented upon the successful completion of both the Preliminary and Higher School Certificate courses. A minimum of 10 units must be studied in this course unless you are a mature age student where different requirements may exist. In the best interest of the student and at the discretion of the principal, the College may insist students present with 12 units for this course up to the time of the trial exams.
Higher School Certificate Requirements
To satisfy the pattern of study requirements for the Higher School Certificate a student must undertake a program of study comprising at least:
12 units of Preliminary courses and
10 units of Higher School Certificate courses
Both the Preliminary and Higher School Certificate patterns must include:
At least 6 units from Board Developed courses
At least two units of a Board Developed course in English
At least three courses of two units value or greater
At least four subjects
No more than six units of courses in Science can contribute to Higher School Certificate eligibility.
Accumulation of the Higher School Certificate
Students are able to accumulate Higher School Certificate courses towards the Higher School Certificate for up to five years. The five year period will commence in the first year the student attempts a HSC course examination. Accumulation of HSC courses cannot extend over more than a five-year period. Preliminary courses, may, but need not be, accumulated within this period. On completion of the accumulation all HSC pattern of study requirements must have been met for both the Preliminary and HSC courses. They need not be met for each calendar year of accumulation.
Entry to University
The requirements for the ATAR are determined by the universities. The ATAR is calculated by the University of Sydney. Students to be eligible for an ATAR must:
Have at least two units of English
Have at least 8 units of Board Developed Category A courses of two units value or greater included
Have at most two units of Category B subjectinclude courses from at least four subjects
The ATAR may include units accumulated by a candidate over a total time span of five years
Adult Entry to University
Most universities make provision for certain applicants with a limited educational background to be given special consideration for admission. In the absence of adequate formal educational qualifications, you may be admitted to any university through the Mature Age Admission Scheme provided that you are over 20 years of age on the 1st March in the year you sit the HSC exam.
To be eligible for a Limited ATAR you must meet the following criteria:
You must be at least 20 years of age on 1st March in the year of the HSC exam
You must be taking between 5 & 9 units of Board Developed Courses
You must attempt the units at one sitting - you cannot accumulate a Limited ATAR
The Limited ATAR will be calculated on the basis of the best 5 units of category A subjects including at least 1 unit of English
Please note: Not all institutions use the Limited ATAR.
The institutions that do not use the Limited ATAR are:
University of Technology, Sydney
A number of the Universities use the Limited ATAR in conjunction with other criteria for selection purposes. It is essential that you check with the institution prior to becoming a Limited ATAR candidate.
For further information please phone the College on 9707 3288 and ask for the Enrolment Officer on 9707 3288
All the information required to make an informed choice is available at Senior Curriculum 2012-13 (doc 735 KB)
Year 12 is a busy time for students as they study for the Higher School Certificate and make plans for life after school.
A range of online resources is available to help students and parents understand the HSC and prepare for assessment and examinations.
- HSC online and HSC how it works are useful websites for parents and students.
- Year 12 students can set up their personal profile on NSW students online and access support materials including the HSC exam timetable and answers to frequently asked questions about the HSC.
- Students can prepare for the final exams by looking at past HSC exam papers.
- See NSW HSC online for parents for translated information.
This year it's more important than ever for students to balance commitments between their school, social and family life.
After Year 12
It's a good idea for your child to start thinking about careers that suit their interests and abilities as early as possible. You may like to talk with the careers adviser and research options together.
Resources, such as the following sites are readily available:
Future study and training options
For students considering continuing with study, visiting the following links can help them make an informed decision:
- Leaving school
- Year 12 - what next?
- Going to uni
- TAFE NSW
- Training and industry
- Apprenticeships and traineeships
Going to careers markets and open days are also good ways to find out what's on offer.
These websites list job vacancies and apprenticeship and traineeships opportunities: