Headstart Program (Year 11 and 12 students) - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Headstart Program (Year 11 and 12 students)

What is Headstart?

Get a taste of university life and prepare for future study while working towards a USC degree, expanding your knowledge, developing your academic skills and interacting with university staff and students.

The benefits

Gain credit towards a USC degree

Ease your study load by up to four courses (maximum of one course per semester) when you enrol in a related USC program after high school. This means, you'll have fewer subjects to complete to get your degree.

Prepare for university

When you enrol in your university degree you'll be well prepared having already completed study at this level.

Plus, you'll have made connections with USC's support services, staff and students - which means you've already hit the ground running toward success at university.

Save money

USC subsidises the cost of Headstart, decreasing the overall cost of your degree. Your first subject is free, and further subjects at a reduced rate.

If you choose to study more than one Headstart subject, the fee is $400 per additional subject. Scholarships are available to eligible applicants to cover this tuition fee.

Broaden your education

You can select a Headstart subject in an area not offered by your school, that extends on your favourite subject at school, or use it as an opportunity to try out future career choices.

Enhance your school performance

Many of our Headstart students, including Dana Larkin, found that studying at a more advanced level can improve your performance at school as you'll be learning new academic skills and will have access to extra study resources.

Gain QCE points

Completed university courses can contribute toward your QCE. One semester counts for 2 credits.*

*The required standard of achievement is a grade of 4 on a 7-point scale, or a Pass grade.

Adjustment factors

Students who successfully complete a USC Headstart course will receive a subject bonus adjustment (1 rank per course) to be applied to their ATAR score or selection rank under the Access USC scheme.

Applications to study in Semester 1, 2022 are open now.


Join us at one of our Headstart Information Evenings in September where we’ll take you through everything you need to know to get started. Register your attendance now.

What to expect

University is different from school. When you are in Headstart, you become a university student, studying alongside USC undergraduate students.

Choosing a course

Choose from a wide range of subjects.

How to apply

Follow our simple 3-step application guide to apply for a Headstart program.

Headstart key dates

Key dates for Headstart students

Why study Headstart?

Headstart students share their experiences with the program and how it's helped them grow their confidence.

Meet Headstart students

Kelsey Hyra

"Headstart is a great opportunity to see if university is something you want to consider doing even if you are not sure."

Liam Bland

"During the first few weeks of my Journalism degree, I felt much more confident. Knowing how to write and reference tertiary-level assessments was a great advantage."

Petra Nunn

"Headstart teaches you how to balance school, study, part-time work and other interests and manage your time. Being 16, I didn’t really have those skills until going to USC.”

Kiah Vescovi

"I learned how to manage my time wisely by creating weekly goals, and how to find resources if I needed help."