‘Points’ to Graduate High School explained

University pathways. High school points. ATAR and VET… We’re the first to admit it gets confusing!

Here’s our quick guide to help you understand high school ‘points’ and university entry (ATAR) in Australia.

At the end of this article, you’ll understand how LearnMe fits into the picture as a Registered VET Course Provider.

We can help you gain extra points to achieve your ‘high school certificate’ and graduate high school. You can even study ICT as a subject if your school doesn’t offer it.

We’ll cover:

  • High School Certificates
  • ATAR and Selection Rank for Uni
  • Extra High School Points (QCE, VCE, HSC etc.)
  • VET Courses

First, let’s start with high school certificates.

We’ll use the term “high school certificate” in this article so we don’t favour your state over any other state.

When you read “high school certificate” — just think ‘That’s my QCE or HSC etc.’

High School Certificates – Which State are you from?

‘High school certificates’ are known by a different name in each state of Australia.

It can get confusing if you’re searching online. Here’s a full list state by state:

New South Wales
Higher School Certificate – (HSC)

South Australia
South Australian Certificate of Education – (SACE)

Western Australia 
Western Australian Certificate of Education – (WACE)

Tasmania
Tasmanian Certificate of Education – (TCE)

Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory Year 12 Certificate

Northern Territory
Northern Territory Certificate of Education – (NTCE)

Victoria
Victorian Certificate of Education – (VCE) 
Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning – (VCAL)

Note: VCAL will merge with VCE beginning 2022 and be scrapped by 2025.

Queensland
Queensland Certificate of Education – (QCE)
Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement – (QCIA)

Note: QCIA is for students with impairments or difficulties in learning. It recognizes a student’s individual learning program.

Did you know that the Education Department in your state doesn’t issue your high school certificate?  

For example:

In Queensland, QCE is issued by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA). In NSW, HSC is issued by the New South Wales Education Standards Authority. And in Victoria,it’s the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) that issues VCE.

While the name for each state’s ‘high school certificate’ changes, some things are the same all over the country.

No matter which state you study in, you’ll still need to gain enough “points” to receive your ‘high school certificate’.  

You probably know different school subjects you take in Year 11 and 12 gain different points.

Some contribute to your ‘high school certificate’. Other subjects can contribute towards an ATAR for uni.

It’s best to talk over your plan for Year 11 and 12 with a Student Pathway Coordinator or VET Coordinator at school.

That way, you’ll get the correct info for your state, and you can choose the best subjects for you.

You might even find a VET course like LearnMe’s Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology can help you gain the points you need to graduate high school, while receiving a recognized qualification at the same time.

(Plus if you’re naturally into tech’ and computers, you can study something you already love!)

What is ATAR?

Okay, that’s ‘high school certificates’ explained. But, what about ATAR?

ATAR means Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It’s a number between 0.00 (lowest) and 99.95 (highest).

If you’re planning to study at uni after high school, your ATAR will be used for undergraduate course admissions. (‘Undergraduate’ means university courses up to Bachelor degree level.)

ATAR is national (Australia-wide), and separate to your ‘high school certificate’.

Your ATAR is based on how well you rank compared to students in other states and territories right around Australia.

‘Scaling’ is applied when ATARs are calculated – so students can’t influence their ATAR by attending a ‘good school’ or taking ‘smart subjects’.

ATAR scores are not automatic. (Not every student gets one.)

That’s because not all Year 11 and 12 subjects meet the criteria for ATAR. (Remember, not everyone who finishes high school wants — or needs — to go to uni.)

Students who want an ATAR to get into university need to make sure enough of their subjects at high school meet ATAR requirements.


Talk to a Student Pathway Coordinator to learn which subjects will do this.  

Not sure you’ll like a course when you get to uni?

VET Course providers like LearnMe are helpful because you get to ‘trial’ an industry like I.T. (ICT) while you’re still at school. You can see if you like it — without the expense of uni.

LearnMe can help you decide if a career in I.T. is the right direction for you. But we can’t influence your ATAR.

So, talk to your VET coordinator to make sure a Cert II or III in I.T. fits your plan for more training — or work — after school.

What is Selection Rank?

Selection rank is a bit different to ATAR. Universities can make adjustments to a student’s ATAR based on:

  • High school certificate results (HSC, VCE, QCE etc.)
  • Educational Access Schemes
  • School location 

These adjustments to ATAR are called ‘selection rank’.

Selection rank doesn’t change your ATAR. It changes your ‘selection rank’ for a given course offered by a given uni.

In practical terms, this will vary from uni to uni. 

‘Selection rank’ might go up and down based on which uni is offering a course when students fill out their course preferences. (i.e. Apply for uni.)

Extra High School Points –
VCE Results, QCE Results, HSC Results and more

If you missed out on getting your ‘high school certificate’ when results come in — don’t feel bad. And definitely don’t worry. 

You can keep working towards your high school certificate even if you’ve graduated high school already.  

You can do this with VET courses. (‘VET’ means Vocational Education and Training — it’s just another way of saying “real life job skills”.)

Many courses like our Cert III in I.T. add to your high school points, so they can help you achieve your high school certificate.

VET Courses vary a lot in price — often for identical courses that are nationally recognised. So, do your research first.

(You’ll find LearnMe’s prices for I.T. (ICT) courses are ultra-competitive.)

VET Courses – Ready for I.T. Training?

Are you into tech’, computers and gaming? Do you like it when your school assignments ‘look right’ using Word, Excel and PowerPoint ?

If the answer is yes, then I.T. can be a good choice for you!  

Many of our students discover they can drop a subject at school and still get their high school certificate. They use a LearnMe VET Course to gain the ‘points’ they need instead.

Other students get the chance to study I.T. because their school doesn’t offer an I.T. or ICT subject. (We even have students who home school.)

VET courses are a great way to get familiar with the actual technology you’ll use in the workplace, or in further study later on.

LearnMe students study online, with friendly student support available by phone or email.

Our most popular Course is ICT30118 – Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology.

We talk to VET Coordinators, Student Pathway Coordinators, and parents regularly.


Get in touch using Messenger for a quick call-back.

Phone – 1300 859 094

Email – info@learnme.edu.au

 ‘Points’ to Graduate High School explained

University pathways. High school points. ATAR and VET… We’re the first to admit it gets confusing!

Here’s our quick guide to help you understand high school ‘points’ and university entry (ATAR) in Australia.

At the end of this article, you’ll understand how LearnMe fits into the picture as a Registered VET Course Provider.

We can help you gain extra points to achieve your ‘high school certificate’ and graduate high school. You can even study ICT as a subject if your school doesn’t offer it.

We’ll cover:

  • High School Certificates
  • ATAR and Selection Rank for Uni
  • Extra High School Points (QCE, VCE, HSC etc.)
  • VET Courses

First, let’s start with high school certificates.

We’ll use the term “high school certificate” in this article so we don’t favour your state over any other state.

When you read “high school certificate” — just think ‘That’s my QCE or HSC etc.’

High School Certificates – Which State are you from?

‘High school certificates’ are known by a different name in each state of Australia.

It can get confusing if you’re searching online. Here’s a full list state by state:

New South Wales
Higher School Certificate – (HSC)

South Australia
South Australian Certificate of Education – (SACE)

Western Australia 
Western Australian Certificate of Education – (WACE)

Tasmania
Tasmanian Certificate of Education – (TCE)

Australian Capital Territory
Australian Capital Territory Year 12 Certificate

Northern Territory
Northern Territory Certificate of Education – (NTCE)

Victoria
Victorian Certificate of Education – (VCE) 
Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning – (VCAL)

Note: VCAL will merge with VCE beginning 2022 and be scrapped by 2025.

Queensland
Queensland Certificate of Education – (QCE)
Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement – (QCIA)

Note: QCIA is for students with impairments or difficulties in learning. It recognizes a student’s individual learning program.

Did you know that the Education Department in your state doesn’t issue your high school certificate?  

For example:

In Queensland, QCE is issued by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA). In NSW, HSC is issued by the New South Wales Education Standards Authority. And in Victoria,it’s the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) that issues VCE.

While the name for each state’s ‘high school certificate’ changes, some things are the same all over the country.

No matter which state you study in, you’ll still need to gain enough “points” to receive your ‘high school certificate’.  

You probably know different school subjects you take in Year 11 and 12 gain different points.

Some contribute to your ‘high school certificate’. Other subjects can contribute towards an ATAR for uni.

It’s best to talk over your plan for Year 11 and 12 with a Student Pathway Coordinator or VET Coordinator at school.

That way, you’ll get the correct info for your state, and you can choose the best subjects for you.

You might even find a VET course like LearnMe’s Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology can help you gain the points you need to graduate high school, while receiving a recognized qualification at the same time.

(Plus if you’re naturally into tech’ and computers, you can study something you already love!)

What is ATAR?

Okay, that’s ‘high school certificates’ explained. But, what about ATAR?

ATAR means Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. It’s a number between 0.00 (lowest) and 99.95 (highest).

If you’re planning to study at uni after high school, your ATAR will be used for undergraduate course admissions. (‘Undergraduate’ means university courses up to Bachelor degree level.)

ATAR is national (Australia-wide), and separate to your ‘high school certificate’.

Your ATAR is based on how well you rank compared to students in other states and territories right around Australia.

‘Scaling’ is applied when ATARs are calculated – so students can’t influence their ATAR by attending a ‘good school’ or taking ‘smart subjects’.

ATAR scores are not automatic. (Not every student gets one.)

That’s because not all Year 11 and 12 subjects meet the criteria for ATAR. (Remember, not everyone who finishes high school wants — or needs — to go to uni.)

Students who want an ATAR to get into university need to make sure enough of their subjects at high school meet ATAR requirements.


Talk to a Student Pathway Coordinator to learn which subjects will do this.  

Not sure you’ll like a course when you get to uni?

VET Course providers like LearnMe are helpful because you get to ‘trial’ an industry like I.T. (ICT) while you’re still at school. You can see if you like it — without the expense of uni.

LearnMe can help you decide if a career in I.T. is the right direction for you. But we can’t influence your ATAR.

So, talk to your VET coordinator to make sure a Cert II or III in I.T. fits your plan for more training — or work — after school.

What is Selection Rank?

Selection rank is a bit different to ATAR. Universities can make adjustments to a student’s ATAR based on:

  • High school certificate results (HSC, VCE, QCE etc.)
  • Educational Access Schemes
  • School location 

These adjustments to ATAR are called ‘selection rank’.

Selection rank doesn’t change your ATAR. It changes your ‘selection rank’ for a given course offered by a given uni.

In practical terms, this will vary from uni to uni. 

‘Selection rank’ might go up and down based on which uni is offering a course when students fill out their course preferences. (i.e. Apply for uni.)

Extra High School Points –
VCE Results, QCE Results, HSC Results and more

If you missed out on getting your ‘high school certificate’ when results come in — don’t feel bad. And definitely don’t worry. 

You can keep working towards your high school certificate even if you’ve graduated high school already.  

You can do this with VET courses. (‘VET’ means Vocational Education and Training — it’s just another way of saying “real life job skills”.)

Many courses like our Cert III in I.T. add to your high school points, so they can help you achieve your high school certificate.

VET Courses vary a lot in price — often for identical courses that are nationally recognised. So, do your research first.

(You’ll find LearnMe’s prices for I.T. (ICT) courses are ultra-competitive.)

VET Courses – Ready for I.T. Training?

Are you into tech’, computers and gaming? Do you like it when your school assignments ‘look right’ using Word, Excel and PowerPoint ?

If the answer is yes, then I.T. can be a good choice for you!  

Many of our students discover they can drop a subject at school and still get their high school certificate. They use a LearnMe VET Course to gain the ‘points’ they need instead.

Other students get the chance to study I.T. because their school doesn’t offer an I.T. or ICT subject. (We even have students who home school.)

VET courses are a great way to get familiar with the actual technology you’ll use in the workplace, or in further study later on.

LearnMe students study online, with friendly student support available by phone or email.

Our most popular Course is ICT30118 – Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology.

We talk to VET Coordinators, Student Pathway Coordinators, and parents regularly.


Get in touch using Messenger for a quick call-back.

Phone – 1300 859 094

Email – info@learnme.edu.au