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Why you need a plan B

Get tips on forming a back-up plan if you can’t get into the tertiary course you want.

A young woman sits thinking at her laptop

It's important to create a back-up plan in case you don't get into the course you want

If you didn't get into the course you want, it's time to think about how else you can get to your goal – this is your plan B.

This may take time, and you will need to do some research. Part of that research could be finding part-time work or getting work experience to help you explore other options.

If you don’t get University Entrance

If you don’t get University Entrance but still want to go to university, there are other ways to get in.

  • Cambridge A or AS-level qualifications and several other overseas qualifications are accepted as University Entrance.
  • Many universities offer bridging or foundation programmes that can help you get into a course. Look at each university’s website for details.
  • If you have not studied beyond Year 12, you may be eligible for discretionary entrance providing you meet the criteria.
  • You can work towards University Entrance via distance learning through Te Kura (The Correspondence School).
  • Anyone 20 or older can apply to enter university even if they don't have a university entrance qualification.

Try to make up your NCEA credits

If you don’t have enough NCEA credits to get into the course you want, talk to your school as soon as possible. You may be able to make up the extra NCEA credits.

If you can't make up your NCEA credits, talk to the course provider about their summer schools, bridging or foundation courses. These courses may help you earn enough credits to get into the course later on.

If you don’t get NCEA Level 1 or 2

If you don’t get NCEA Level 1 or 2 but want to get into a course, you can meet the entry requirements in different ways.

  • Some polytechnics and institutes offer introductory courses (also known as pre-trade or foundation courses) starting at Level 1 or 2.
  • If you left school with no NCEA credits in English or maths at Level 1, you can do a polytechnic, wānanga or private training foundation literacy and numeracy course. You can also gain NCEA credits by distance learning through Te Kura (The Correspondence School).
  • If you need help with basic literacy and numeracy, Literacy Aotearoa, industry training organisations, polytechnics, private training providers, and wānanga have teachers and courses that can assist you.

Look at other training options

You may still be able to get the qualification you want in another way. You could enrol in a course that is similar to, or related to your first choice, and then enrol in your original course later on.

For example, if you want to become a nurse you could complete a Certificate in Health Studies to earn enough credits to apply for a nursing degree later. 

Make sure you talk with the relevant tertiary enrolment office – they are there to help you.

Work towards the career you want in other ways

You could try looking for work in an industry that interests you. There you’ll meet people and make contacts, and if you excel at your job, you never know what might come up.

Updated 18 Dec 2018