Your child is bright, brainy and bursting with potential. You want to give them the best possible start in life by sending them to a top high school. You’ve got your eye on a private or independent school in your area with an excellent reputation, but you’ve run the numbers and it doesn’t look financially viable. The good news is, there is another option — one that doesn’t involve going into debt or selling your house! Many private or independent high schools offer scholarship tuition programs that allow you to enrol your child without the financial burden.

There are around 300 schools in Australia offering scholarship programs, however, as schools generally have a limited amount of these scholarships on offer each year, selection is highly competitive. In order to best position your child to receive a scholarship, it’s important to start preparing as early as possible. Read on to learn how to get a scholarship to your school of choice.



The scholarship programs on offer vary from school to school. Some high schools provide full scholarships that cover the entire six years of schooling, while others only pay for a certain amount each year. There are also various types of scholarships, depending on the values of the schools. While some schools have scholarships for academic excellence, others offer programs for children who excel in sport, music or other pursuits. Some schools also specify that the applicant must be the child or grandchild of a former student, of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, or live in the immediate area. Most schools have a scholarship manager who you can speak to determine what the options are for your child.


When it comes to scholarships, it’s best to avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. Instead, it’s a good idea to shortlist a few schools you are interested in sending your child to that have suitable scholarship programs. While it’s important not to overload your child with extra work for scholarship applications, honing in on two or three can help diversify your options and improve their chances of being successful.


Once you have determined which scholarship option is most suitable for your child, it’s important to identify the entry requirements, selection criteria and key dates. Most scholarships require students to undergo an interview process, but other entry requirements may include a portfolio of work or group activities to demonstrate leadership abilities. Some schools also include mock or independent exams as part of their application process.

A number of independent schools in Australia use tests set by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). There are two different types of tests available, Cooperative Program Tests and Alternate Date Tests. Cooperative program tests are completed by all students looking to attend a school on the same date in the same location, while Alternate Date Tests are tests taken individually by the student.  These are generally split into written expression, humanities (comprehension and interpretation) and maths components. It may also be possible to gain a copy of the selection criteria from the school’s scholarship manager, so you can identify if there are any specific areas your child will need to work on.


The sooner you determine what will be required of your child to apply for the scholarship, the sooner you can start preparing. An important aspect of this process is ensuring your child is exam ready. While your child may be academically bright, this may not necessarily mean they perform well under pressure in exam conditions. A large part of exam performance is the ability to recall information.

The best way you can prepare your child for this is to take as many example tests as possible under timed conditions. The two major testing bodies in Australia, ACER and Edutest, both have free sample test papers you can download as practice. You can download ACER practice questions here, and Edutest practice questions here.

Most external exam testing also includes a written component, so it’s a good idea to give your child timed writing tests as preparation, too. Similarly, you will want to prepare your child for the interviews that are normally involved in the scholarship application process. You can do so by setting up mock interviews at home, to help your child become comfortable with answering questions on the spot.

It’s also important to ensure your child is a well-rounded student. For example, if they are first in their class for English but struggle with Maths, this won’t necessarily be enough for them to achieve a scholarship. Most of the selective school exams cover Maths, English and Humanities, so it’s vital to ensure your child is competent in all of these essential subjects.

At C3 Education, we have proven results in helping primary school students successfully attain scholarships. Not only can we help improve your child’s overall marks and knowledge, but our team also has in-depth knowledge of both ACER and Edutest selective entrance exams and marking criteria. In working one-on-one with your child, we can improve their exam confidence and readiness, as well as developing their writing skills through our innovative and intensive writing program.

To discuss your child’s needs, contact us on 1300 235 437 (1300 C3 KIDS) or click here to complete our Contact Form. One of our staff members will be in touch!