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How to Get Into the Bachelor of Laws in Australia With a Low ATAR 2023

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Want to study Law but have a low ATAR?

There’s no need to worry...

It is definitely still possible to pursue your dream of being Harvey Spectre in a big, hot-shot Law Firm.

Those of you in Year 10 or Year 11, although you haven’t even started year 12 yet, you may be beginning to worry about getting that 96+ ATAR.

But, now is the perfect time for you to start thinking about different avenues for getting into Law School and preparing your back-up plan.

In this post I’m going to show you EXACTLY how you can Mike Ross your way into any Law School (legally).

So, chin up. All is not lost. You’ll be on your way to Law School in no time.

Your Pathway Options

Believe it or not, there are actually 6 main pathways into the Bachelor of Laws.

The most appropriate one for you will depend on:

  • the time of year (some options have early deadlines),

  • your final ATAR and selection rank,

  • the Uni you want to go to (if you have a specific one in mind),

  • if you have any other areas of interest,

  • your financial situation.

So, there are 6 main pathway options you could take.

  1. Early Entry

  2. Entry Schemes

  3. Internal Transfer

  4. External Transfer

  5. Diploma at TAFE or Uni

  6. The Juris Doctor Option

If none of these fit your unique scenario, give the team at Yourcompass a call and we will help you find a way in!

Early Entry

This first pathway option is perfect if you’re currently in Year 10, Year 11 or you’re just starting Year 12.

If you’re reading this at the end of Year 12 and you’re about to sit your final exams, it’ll be too late to apply for Early Entry. Likewise, if you’re a Post-School Applicant and have already finished the HSC or if you left school early, this option won’t apply to you. You guys can jump straight down to the next option.

Early Entry can get you into heaps of different degrees, including the Bachelor of Laws at a lot of institutions.

Basically, Early Entry means that you receive an offer to study a degree before your final marks are even released.

Early Entry offers are usually based on your Year 11 results, as well as additional assessment criteria.

Sometimes, they will also look at your final Year 12 results.

This ‘additional assessment criteria’ will depend on the individual Early Entry Scheme.

Some examples are:

  • Community Service

  • Leadership

  • Extra-curriculars

  • Socio-Economic Disadvantage

  • Located in a Rural / Regional Town

  • Passion for Law

  • School or Principal's Recommendation

  • The School you attended

Just remember that there are Early Entry Schemes at almost every institution and each one is different. So, you’re bound to meet the criteria for at least one or two.

Early Entry is the PERFECT way to get into the Bachelor of Laws.

It gives you an offer based on all of your hard work leading up to the Year 12. It takes into account factors outside of your final results and rewards things like leadership and community service.

You can’t be considered if you don’t apply, so make sure you apply to as many as you can!

The application may take a bit of extra effort, but it’s WORTH the reduced anxiety and stress for the rest of Year 12.

Early Entry gives you that peace of mind and allows you to stop stress-cramming and focus on what’s important in your final year of school – actually learning and setting yourself up for success!

If you want some more information on how Early Entry works, you can book a FREE Kickstarter Call and we will help you get started.

Other Entry Schemes

Entry Schemes will give you an offer based on additional assessment criteria either separate from, or as well as your ATAR or Selection Rank.

Entry Schemes can be open to Post-School Applicants and they are offered at different times throughout the year.

In the case of law, some institutions have specific ‘Law Entry Schemes’ and ‘Pre-Law Pathways’.

For example:

Some Entry Schemes will be open to other courses too, but you can use them to apply for the Bachelor of Laws.

For example:

Entry Schemes can be tricky to find and you have to really search for them.

Again, a little research now will save you years of study and a lot of money later.

If you know what University you are interested in, you can reach out to them and ask whether they have 'Law Entry Schemes' or 'Pre-Law Pathways'.

If you need help finding and applying for an Entry Scheme, book a FREE Kickstarter Call today and we can help get the ball rolling.

Internal Transfer

One of the most common pathways into the Bachelor of Laws is Internal Transfer.

This involves starting one degree with a lower entry requirement meeting the Internal Transfer Criteria and then transferring into the Bachelor of Laws.

The Internal Transfer Criteria will vary at each University. Some examples are:

  • Study full-time for 1 semester or 2 semesters.

  • Achieve a certain WAM (Weighted Average Mark) / GPA (Grade Point Average).

  • Study particular subjects, known as pre-requisites.

This pathway is so popular as it allows you to start studying immediately.

The subjects you study in your initial degree will usually be brought across to the Bachelor of Laws as Electives. This means you don’t waste any time or money. I personally used the Internal Transfer pathway and you can read more about my story and how I got into the Bachelor of Laws here.

External Transfer

This option is for you if you know the University you want to go to, but for some reason or another you can’t start there just yet.

For example, say you really want to go to Australian National University (ANU) and study the Bachelor of Laws.

But there are a few reasons you might not be able to start at ANU straight away:

Scenario 1: You live in another state, like NSW or QLD and can’t move interstate just yet.

Scenario 2: Maybe you didn’t get an offer for any degrees at ANU. Either you didn’t apply for any, or you weren’t eligible. So, an Internal Transfer isn't possible.

Scenario 3: You're not eligible for Bachelor of Laws at ANU, but you get an offer for Bachelor of Laws at another Uni. You are really keen to get started on your study, even though ANU is still your dream Uni.

There are multiple reasons why we can’t study at the Uni we want immediately and the External Transfer option is the perfect solution to all of them!

So, how does External Transfer work?

  1. You start studying the Bachelor of Laws (or any other degree) at another University.

  2. Meet the External Transfer Entry Criteria. (Make sure you check with your dream Uni what they need you to do.)

  3. Apply to get an offer at your dream Uni.

  4. Get an offer and transfer! Yay!

  5. Request Recognition of Prior Learning.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will give you credit for all the subjects you’ve already studied.

That way, you don't have to study them again!

Something to Consider....

The entry criteria to transfer will vary slightly at each University.

We recommend you reaching out to the Universities and asking them what is required to transfer from another Uni, into Bachelor of Laws.

Recognition of Prior Learning is not always guaranteed. So again, it's important to check with your dream Uni to see what their RPL policy is.

The team at Yourcompass can also assist you with this and everything else you need to know about navigating the External Transfer pathway. Give us a call today and we’ll get you started for FREE.

Diploma at TAFE or a University

A. Diploma at TAFE

This is for you if:

1. Your ATAR / Selection Rank doesn't meet the criteria for any degrees.

2. You didn't get an ATAR at all. Or you did High School ages ago & haven't studied since.

Some Universities accept Diplomas (and even sometimes Cert IV) as a basis for application.

This means that if you do a Diploma at TAFE, you can use it to apply for the Bachelor of Laws.

You may even be able to get Recognition of Prior Learning for your hard work in the Diploma.

Something to Consider....

Again, the entry criteria is different at every Uni. You may be required to get a certain grade in your Diploma.

You need to check with the Universities that you're interested in, as not all accept a Diploma as a mode of entry.

B. Pathway Diploma at a University

Some Universities offer a Diploma of Laws (or similar) on their campus.

This is a specific pathway designed to move students into the first or second year of the Bachelor of Laws.

These pathways usually require a minimum ATAR or Selection Rank.

Keep an eye out for these courses as they can be great pathways!

Just make sure you double check the price and whether you need to pay up front.

If you need some help working out if a Diploma is the right pathway for you, give us a FREE call today.

Juris Doctor

The Juris Doctor is basically the Bachelor of Laws but for people who have already got a degree. It's what we call a postgraduate program.

This option would be ideal for people who decided they wanted to study Law a bit late into their degree, and can’t do an Internal or External Transfer.

It is also ideal for people who want to study at a particular University, but it only offers postgraduate Law options (i.e. they only offer the Juris Doctor.) University of Melbourne is one such Uni.

Alternatively, if you have another interest area, you might consider studying a different degree first. For example, if you were interested in Business, you could study a three-year Bachelor of Commerce.

On completion of the Bachelor of Commerce, if you meet the grade requirements, you could enter into the three-year Juris Doctor.

It's the 3 + 3 model. 3 years undergraduate degree + 3 years Juris Doctor.

It's a bit longer, but might fit your particular circumstance.

If you get high enough grades, you could get an offer for a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP). This means the Government will subsidise the cost of the degree, meaning you pay less.

Wow, 6 options. So, which one is for me?

All of these pathways are excellent pathways, the ‘best’ pathway will vary depending on YOU and your circumstance.

When researching your pathway options I encourage you to ask the following questions: 1. What does my Study History look like?

Do I have good High School grades? Have I done any other Tertiary Study before?

2. What’s more important to me?

The Uni I go to? Or, starting Law straight away?

3. Is this pathway any extra cost to me?

Can I afford it?

4. Does this pathway add any unnecessary extra time to my studies?

Chat to each of the Universities and make sure you understand the ins and outs of the pathway you are considering.

It may seem like a daunting task, but I promise you it will be worth it once you get into the course of your dreams!

If none of these pathways seem like they are the right fit for you, don’t lose hope. Yourcompass will be able to find you a pathway, even if it’s a little longer or unusual than most.

Pathways are kind of our thing.

Yourcompass specialises in finding the BEST pathway for you.

If you would like assistance in navigating the road to Law School, book your FREE Kickstarter call today!


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