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Do I need to retake my HSC (and repeat Year 11 and 12) if I want to get into University? (1 Viewer)


New Member
Mar 4, 2023
Title. So, basically, the further I progressed through school, the more my grades turned from As into Es. By the end of Year 12 (2021), I graduated a total of 2 subjects, with terrible grades (bad HSC, no ATAR). I later found out that I have a bunch of mental health conditions influencing me (ADHD suspected by multiple GPs and me, but specialists are like a 7-month wait. Also diagnosed with autism as a kid, as well as severe depression and anxiety around a year ago), and so I'm wondering if I should give school another try.

See, I've been trying to figure out what I want to do as a career in the future, and have recently taken an interest in a couple different things requiring university. Whilst I'm not sure I definitely wanna go, I think it'd be a good idea to find out how to even get there in the first place. I'm quite sure my study record pretty much prohibits me from simply jumping into Uni, but when trying to find information about this online the information seems to be pretty scattered. Like, I know you can retake the HSC within 5 years of graduating, but what about after (do I have a time limit on this)? I know I can look for bridging courses, but will that only count for a specific university? Will it even do anything if my school scores are that bad? Do I have other options? Is there some sort of online course, so I can do this from home (I need to work for now, as I have to pay for rent, food, medical costs for my mental health and all, save for a car, etc.), or do I need to physically go to school again?

Not that I'm worrying too much; I'm still waiting on the medical system for probably at least 6 months before I can get any medication to even feel confident enough to try doing something hard, but in researching this stuff beforehand, most of the information I find online is either only half-there, or doesn't quite apply to me. Hence, I decided to ask around here for advice. Thanks in advance for any help.


Active Member
Jun 26, 2021
You definitely don’t need to restart your HSC. Look into non-school leavers programs, also some people go to Tafe first to get necessary qualifications and then transfer to University. Your struggles don’t mean you need to give up on your dreams of further education at all :) There are pathways that can get you to where you want to, check out programs for universities you’re interested in, maybe?


Le Phénix Trilingue
Aug 22, 2019
Krak des Chevaliers
Uni Grad
You seem to be in a complex situation. The fact that you completed 2 HSC subjects implies that you are not eligible for the HSC (in this case the actual award of the Higher School Certificate), regardless of the marks that you achieved in each subject. This is problematic because it essentially prevents you from studying any courses that require you to have received your HSC at the very least without the need for an ATAR. Such courses typically include diplomas at TAFE or universities (for instance, WSU and UTS) as well as Bachelor's degrees at universities such as Torrens University.

If you have prior work experience, you could try applying for Bachelor's degrees at universities, as work experience is a basis for consideration. However, it is unclear whether your experience (assuming you have any at this stage) is relevant to the degree that you wish to study and whether it is long enough to be considered. Because of this, while an application certainly would not hurt, your chances of being made an offer through this method are likely not to be high.

Your experience as a year 12 student would indicate that you should probably avoid reattempting the HSC. The HSC is not an easy journey, even for high-achieving students, and a potential repetition of the outcomes of your year 12 journey might not be fruitful and may end up being a sole waste of time.

I personally believe that the best course of action for someone in your position would be to complete a Certificate III relevant or similar to the field/career that you have been contemplating. Certificate III's typically have no entry requirements and may not be as demanding as the HSC. Depending on the specific field, you may also be able to complete a Certificate IV directly, that is, without the need to complete a Certificate III altogether. Once completed, you can subsequently complete a diploma, making you eligible for admission into a Bachelor's degree.

The good thing about a Bachelor's degree is that it typically offers increased flexibility. In your case, you may not necessarily want to study full-time. If that is the case, you can determine a part-time study pattern that you are comfortable with and one that would allow you to manage both your work and study commitments.

I wish you all the very best in any decision that you make going forward. It is important to be resilient in order to eventually achieve your goals.

I hope this helps! :D

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