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?

Headstart is a transition program for Year 11 and 12 students to study first-year uni subjects while in Years 11 and 12.

Get a taste of university life studying on-campus 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.

Due to the evolving situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, USC’s classes in Semester 2, 2020 are ready to be delivered online, though we’ll be teaching face-to-face again as soon as we can!

Rest assured, you will still get a real university experience and credit towards your future USC degree (when you successfully complete your Headstart course).

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.

Headstart doesn't affect your ATAR

Your ATAR score is still calculated based only on your performance at school.

However, you are expected to be able to manage your own studies and schedule of commitments.

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 the 90+ subjects offered through Headstart.

How to apply

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


Information for high school students about studying at USC during year 11 and 12 through the Headstart Program, including an outline of over 90 subject offerings.

Headstart Guide (PDF)

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