TAFE NSW has invited year 12 students to apply for its Early Entry Program, saying they could be offered places in degrees before their peers even receive their Higher School Certificate results.
TAFE NSW deputy regional general manager north region Jason Darney said securing a place in a degree that doesn't require an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank didn't mean students shouldn't try their best in their HSC exams, but may help alleviate stress and offer peace of mind.
"We don't look at the ATAR as the entry point," Mr Darney said.
"It's about the individual, what the individual brings and where they want their career to go.
"TAFE graduates are job ready, highly skilled and comparable to all other [university] qualified graduates.
"We're not a second choice, we're not dumbed down degrees. We offer highly developed degrees linked directly to industry."
Mr Darney said high school leavers who applied to study at TAFE came from a range of backgrounds.
"We will get students who have been home schooled, students who have been first in their class, who have started our other programs and completed or not completed the HSC, who have not done as well as they expected because of a range of reasons."
Mr Darney said students could apply online to enrol any time, but he did suggest making a phone call to the organisation to talk to staff about suitability for courses, recognition of prior learning, what they wanted to achieve and support they may need.
He said strengths of TAFE degrees included being developed in consultation with industry; being taught by highly qualified teachers still working in industry; smaller cohorts; and tailored programs
TAFE NSW bachelor or associate degrees available at Newcastle, Glendale and Ourimbah include early childhood education and care; applied commerce; accounting and applied engineering. The organisation couldn't confirm how many students had enrolled for next year.
Other bachelor degrees available in Sydney or online are community services; 3D art and animation; design; information technology; business; creative practice and fashion design. Students have access to FEE-HELP loans.
"We still have certificates and diplomas too - there's a whole range of pathways of entry for all different kinds of people to continue their education journey."
The last HSC written exam will be on November 11.
Students will receive ATARs on December 17.