Agent update 4 – Admissions-Southern Cross University

How to think like Admissions.

Agents are often asked to provide all necessary documents when lodging an application on behalf of their students and although many understand that it is beneficial to do so for an expedited assessment outcome, some may feel overwhelmed by the required documents and why they are needed.

Here are some tips that we hope will help you to “think like Admissions”.

i. Both onshore and offshore academic transcripts and completion/graduation certificates

The Admissions regularly sees ONSHORE applications submitted with offshore academic transcripts only. We see many such applications from an onshore student in which the ONSHORE transcripts have not been provided. We understand that this may be due to some personal reasons where the student feels hesitant to provide their onshore study results, however, we are unable to proceed with the application until we have these documents. To save time, it’s best to provide them up front.
It is an Admission requirement that we assess both the most recent and highest qualification. If the provided results do not meet the direct entry requirement, we may refer to the student’s previous qualifications, including offshore studies, and check whether an alternative assessment pathway is possible.

We appreciate that, in many instances, onshore students are quite anxious about their application outcome, particularly when their visa is due to expire shortly. Therefore, submitting all the academic documents up front will save the back-and-forth communication between the Admissions Team and the Agent, and ensure that an accurate assessment outcome will go to the Agent in a timely manner.

Similarly, before lodging an application for an OFFSHORE student, Admissions will need to know if and when the student has completed the most recent and highest qualification, along with the course duration, in order to determine the equivalent AQF level. Where (for example) the student completed high school 12 months ago and no transcript for further studies or any explanation of the gap is provided, it will lead the Admissions Team to assess the gap. We will elaborate on this further in point 3. If Agents are able to understand the documentary requirements and why they are needed from an Admissions perspective and provide these documents up front, we are able to ensure a more positive experience for all concerned.

ii. Academic backlogs
The documentary requirements for OFFSHORE applicants are generally fewer than those for onshore students. However, it goes without saying that all applicants must meet the minimum academic requirements of the university, including assessment of backlogs (where these exist) Students must not exceed the prescribed number of failed units in their previous studies, and the Admissions Team is required to assess this before we are able to provide a valid assessment outcome. Therefore, it is essential to submit a backlog summary if the student has any failed units in their post-secondary studies and this will contribute to a shortened turnaround time.

iii. Gap evidence/explanation
Once we have assessed the academic transcripts, we will check whether there are any concerning gaps existing between the students’ studies. This is an extremely important part of the assessment process for all students, but for onshore students in particular. The rationale behind this is that students who are holding a valid Australian student visa are required to comply with all visa conditions, including condition 8202. This condition mandates that the international student remains enrolled in a registered course with the same AQF level or higher that the course for which they received their visa and that they should maintain satisfactory attendance in their enrolled course for each study period. Therefore, students should not have course gaps that are more than 2 months in duration, unless they are able to provide a satisfactory explanation for such gaps. If you are aware of any gaps, please provide the gap explanation and the supporting documents for further assessment. Extenuating circumstances that are well supported by evidentiary documentation will be considered favourably at assessment.

Admissions will usually assess a gap in excess of 12 months (or 6 months in higher risk areas) after completion of high school or any other previous study for all OFFSHORE applicants. Any enrolled study, including IELTS preparation or work experience related to the proposed courses may be considered as part of the gap explanation. Where students have compelling and/or compassionate reason/s for the gap (e.g., a medical condition), please provide the relevant medical evidence for further assessment.

iv. Advanced Standing assessment
Based on our experience, 95% of ONSHORE students ask for Advanced Standing assessment. What can you do as an Agent to facilitate a smooth Advanced Standing assessment?

It is a compliance requirement that Advanced Standing requests are documented in writing, preferably at application stage, where Agents can tick off the Advanced Standing option in the Accelerate application AND select the proper course Major. Where students change their minds and request credit exemption after the submission of their application, Agents can fill in the SCU Advanced Standing form and upload it via the Accelerate Portal. Once the Advanced Standing option has been confirmed, we will initiate the Advanced Standing procedure and notify the Agent of the outcome within 3 business days.

Selection of the correct Major is essential as the application of Advanced Standing may differ depending on the chosen Major.

(Below is an example of an incorrect major selected for the intended course)

Example of incorrect Major

Please see below the Major options:

SCU coursesMajor
Diploma of BusinessNo major required, please leave the major as blank
Bachelor of BusinessAccounting; OR
International Business; OR
Bachelor of Information TechnologyBusiness Analytics; OR
Software Development; OR
User Experience
Graduate diploma in BusinessNo major required, please leave the major as blank
Master of Business AdministrationAccounting; OR
Managing and Leading People; OR
Master of Information TechnologyCyber Security; OR
Software Development; OR
User Experience
Master of Professional AccountingNo major required, please leave the major as blank
Master of Business Administration, Master of Engineering ManagementNo major required, please leave the major as blank

Useful resources:
1. GTE and Admissions Guide
2. Online Advanced Standing Precedent Database. To assist with the Advanced Standing pre-assessment, Admissions has recently deployed an online Precedent Database. We will soon post another article to walk Agents through how to use this tool.

Our Admissions Team is committed to working closely with all our valued partners to deliver accurate assessment outcomes within the agreed turnaround times. We cannot achieve this without your help.

It would be a great starting point if our Agents could begin to think like Admissions and provide us with all the required documentation upfront to keep the ball rolling.

We thank you for your continued support.