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The University of Adelaide’s Headstart program for 2021

The University of Adelaide’s Headstart program provides gifted and highly motivated Year 12 students with a challenge beyond the Year 12 curriculum as they combine secondary school and university studies. Students accepted into Headstart can choose to replace or supplement their Year 12 subjects with university courses (subjects). University grades are recorded, and students can credit these grades towards their SACE Stage 2 level studies and ATAR. Headstart students may also receive credit towards their university degree if they enrol in a University of Adelaide program after attending Pulteney Grammar, enabling them to complete their university study early or study a wider range of courses than usual. Successful Headstart applicants will also receive a scholarship from the University of Adelaide exempting them from both tuition fees and the student services and amenities fee for one course per semester.

Who can apply for Headstart:

There are strict guidelines that Year 11 students will need to adhere to, and meet should they wish to apply. In the first instance, the students need to fill in a proforma outlining their study and career path. The application is available here. Students also need to submit a personal statement (no more than 250 words) outlining why they should be considered for the Headstart program. The following evidence will also need to be provided:

  • Any evidence, such as letters of reference from experts in the subject specific field, competitions, etc. placing the student in the top tenth percentile.
  • A portfolio of practical evidence, i.e. Art portfolio.
  • A- grade in accelerated Stage 2 subject/s and/or A- grades from semester 1 and current grades at the time of application.

Process for selection:

The school’s standard for the selection process for Headstart is purposely set high to ensure that students can successfully combine their studies. While students undertake the course independently, schools are required to provide a recommendation which is why it is crucial that we have a rigorous selection process; exemplary behaviour is also an expectation.

Once applications have been received, the Head of one ninety and the Gifted and Talented Coordinator and Teacher, will meet and decide if further evidence or tests are required. The personal statement, proforma and evidence will need to be delivered to the reception desk of the Centre for Senior Learningno later than Friday 23 October (9:00am). Results will be collated with the student’s formal application and a vetting process will take place to shortlist those who will be invited to apply for Headstart. 


  • Headstart applications are due Friday 23 October (9:00am).
  • Students will be advised by Friday 6 November of the school’s recommendation and a meeting time will be arranged with the University of Adelaide’s Coordinator of Headstart.
  • When the University’s timetables become available in early December, nominated students are advised to start considering which subjects they would choose if successful.
  • In the last week of Term 4, students will be provided with their timetable for Year 12 to guide in selecting subjects for Headstart.
  • Students will independently submit their application online which occurs prior to school commencing.
  • Applicants will be advised by 31 January 2021, if they have been successful.
  • Students will advise the Head of one ninety, which Pulteney subject they will withdraw from.
  • Students commence their studies at the University of Adelaide in Semester 1, 2021.

Further information about Headstart can be found here

Rigours and responsibilities of being involved in Headstart

There is no doubt that Headstart is an amazing opportunity for students. However, it is important to note, that while the benefits of being involved in the program are far reaching, there is much that needs to be considered to undertake subjects at university level. Firstly, students are not able to submit any drafts for assistance. Students access information from their lecturers and tutors in the workshops, tutorials and subject related online forums. If students are experiencing difficulty in writing an essay, for example, they can make a time to see the university’s study skills support team. The University of Adelaide’s Coordinator of Headstart can be contacted if there are any general concerns from a university perspective as well as any timetabling issues. Students will also be allocated a mentor from Pulteney, and we are here to ensure that the students know who to ask if they need support at university. In short, once enrolled in Headstart at the University of Adelaide, students are undertaking a first-year subject and are fully responsible for working out their timetable, liaising with their university mentor as required and completing the work.

This is a unique and highly rewarding opportunity that we commend all applicable students to consider. We are committed to providing the best opportunities for our students that cater for their individual needs.


Mr. Nicholas Brice                                      Mrs. Sue Mavropoulos

Head of one ninety                                     Gifted and Talented Coordinator and Teacher