Blogs (Media Centre)

TAFE NSW graduate says there's more than one path to an ATAR


With HSC exams looming, a Youth Ambassador who felt she did not fit in with traditional schooling is urging young people to consider an alternate path to year 12 at TAFE NSW if they don’t get the ATAR they were hoping for.

The Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation (TPC) at TAFE NSW is aimed at providing students of all ages with an alternate option for completing year 12 and gaining a recognised Tertiary Entry Score accepted by the University Admissions Centre. Graduates can go on to pursue higher education, enter the defence force or pursue further vocational education and training. 

TAFE NSW graduate Elli Reinhard experienced a tumultuous upbringing and was unable to complete her schooling. After graduating from Mission Australia’s Triple Care Farm in 2018, Elli began her road to recovery with a clear goal – to study Forensic Science at university.

“I struggled with addiction in my schooling years so once I was in recovery, I knew that I wanted to finish my year 11 and 12 and gain an ATAR to start my dream degree - the Bachelor of Forensic Science,” Elli said.

“My job provider recommended I pursue the Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation at TAFE NSW Gymea as it had a good local reputation and she had received positive feedback from other students.”

Elli completed the TPC and passed with flying colours. She is now in her first year at university having gained entry to the Bachelor of Forensic Science and has recently been awarded the Graduate Women NSW City Branch award for successfully completing the TAFE NSW Tertiary Preparation Certificate to undertake higher education. 

TAFE NSW Gymea Educational Pathways teacher Jane Maughancheney said she’s seeing more school-aged students pursuing the TPC as an alternative to the HSC at school or to gain entry to university. 

“Our TPC students come from all walks of life, but the end goal is the same, to improve their knowledge and skills and finish their year 12 qualification,” Ms Maughancheney said.

“The TPC not only gives students practical skills in researching and writing essays, and a recognised ATAR, it gives them increased confidence in their abilities and sets up a strong educational foundation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.”  

Elli is currently volunteering in her spare time as Youth Ambassador for the Sir David Martin Foundation and is urging anyone who struggled with school but has ambitions to complete year 12 or pursue higher education to consider the TPC at TAFE NSW.

“The way schools operate isn’t for everyone so TAFE NSW is a great option for a young person that doesn’t fit in with the school system. 

“TAFE is a supportive environment and there is plenty of one-on-one assistance if you ask for it. The teachers want you to succeed! I would say go for it!”

To learn more about Tertiary Preparation Study and employability pathways available at TAFE NSW head to or phone 131 601.   

Media contact: Alice Dalley, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, mobile 0402 528 210.