9 Steps to Choosing the Right Performing Arts Course | Careers Talk AUS
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9 Steps to Choosing the Right Performing Arts Course

Advice provided from Sandie McKoy, Career Adviser at Catholic College Wodonga

How to find performing arts courses in Australia

There is no single website that covers all courses in Australia, so you will need to use several websites as well as Google search (e.g., ‘acting or drama courses Victoria’).

To search for courses in Australia, use the following websites:

Australia-wide search websites

Good Universities Guide – you can search for vocational courses (e.g., TAFE) and university courses across Australia, gooduniversitiesguide.com.au/

My Skills  You can search for vocational courses across Australia – myskills.gov.au/

State-based Tertiary Admission Centres, TAFE, and Private Provider websites


Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre – vtac.edu.au/

Victorian Skills Gateway – skills.vic.gov.au/

Private Colleges Australia – privatecollegesaustralia.com/vic

NSW, Canberra

Universities Admissions Centre (NSW, Canberra) – uac.edu.au/

TAFE NSW – tafensw.edu.au/

Private Colleges Australia (ACT) – privatecollegesaustralia.com/act

Private Colleges Australia (NSW) – privatecollegesaustralia.com/nsw


Queensland Tertiary Admission Centre – qtac.edu.au/

TAFE QLD – tafe.qld.gov.au/

Private Colleges Australia – privatecollegesaustralia.com/qld

South Australia, Northern Territory

South Australia Tertiary Admission Centre – satac.edu.au/

TAFE SA – tafesa.edu.au/

Private Colleges Australia – privatecollegesaustralia.com/sa

Western Australia

Tertiary Institutions Service Centre – tisc.edu.au/

WA TAFE – fulltimecourses.tafe.wa.edu.au/

Private Colleges Australia – privatecollegesaustralia.com/wa


University of Tasmania – utas.edu.au/

TasTAFE – tastafe.tas.edu.au/

Private Colleges Australia – privatecollegesaustralia.com/tas

Follow the 9 steps to explore your course options

Start broad and then narrow down your decision-making.

Step 1: Focus purely on performing arts, or broaden your scope?

You can choose to focus just on performing arts in your preferred area of study or you can keep your options open and study a degree that has an acting or drama major major plus a major or minor in a non-acting related area.


Deakin University: you could study a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Drama and another area of interest such as Public Relations, Journalism, or Film & Television.

Australian Catholic University: You could study a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Drama and another area of interest such as Youth Work, Music, or Communication.

If you would like to broaden your scope, think about what you would like to combine performing arts with (e.g., journalism, communications, media studies) then locate the universities that offer the scope for you to be able to study acting plus another area of interest.

If you would like to focus purely on performing arts, go to step 2.

Step 2: What type of performing arts course?

You may not know what type of job you would like to pursue once you complete your course, so think of what you are interested in now.

For example – Drama, Acting, Musical Theatre, Theatre, Screenwriting, Costume, Stage Design, Technical Theatre etc.

Step 3: Vocational or Higher Education?

You will need to decide whether you would like to study a vocational course (e.g., TAFE) or a university level course.

What is the difference?

Vocational courses are usually more practical and hands-on and you will complete your course faster than a university degree.

If you aren’t sure if you would like to pursue performing arts or if you would like to study performing arts for a year and then revaluate your study or career options, vocational study is a great option.

Step 4: Private or Government Funded?

Private Colleges and universities are generally more expensive. For most courses you can access the following Government loans:

FEE-HELP for university level courses – studyassist.gov.au/

VET Student Loans – for vocational courses – studyassist.gov.au/

You will need to work out the pros and cons of studying at a private institution versus a Government funded institution based on your unique situation.

Speak to your career adviser if you are at school to explore the differences or the institutions directly if you are no longer at school.

Private institutions are generally smaller with a higher staff to student ratio.

They also cater for a smaller number of courses (e.g., just performing arts related courses) and work experience and industry exposure is a key feature of many courses.

They sometimes offer courses over a trimester system which means that you will complete your course faster.

Further, often the entry requirements are more flexible. For example, you may not need an ATAR for your course, just an interview and audition.

Universities are larger and often provide accommodation and cheaper courses.

Depending on what you would like to study though, you may need to study at a private institution if you can’t study the course at a Government funded institution and vice versa.

Step 5: Research your options

Once you have worked out the type of course you would like to study, the level of study (vocational or higher education), and what type of institution you would like to study at (private or Government funded) you can search for course options based on the locations you would like to study at or move to.

Use the websites in the left column to search for courses, then make a list of your preferred options.

In an Excel sheet, list the following headings

  • Course
  • Institution
  • Level of study
  • Accommodation provided (Y/N/NA)
  • Annual course cost
  • Industry experience provided (Y/N/NA)
  • Contact for institution
  • Application method
  • Selection criteria
  • Do I meet subject prerequisites? (Y/N)
  • Key dates for interview/audition (if applicable)
  • Open Day date/s
  • Backup/pathway courses

Step 6: Contact and/or visit the institutions

This is an essential step. Once you have narrowed your course options, contact the institution with any questions you may have.

Ask them if you can book in for a campus tour and ask when upcoming open days, information days or workshops will be running.

Step 7: Connect with the institutions via social media

Join the social media pages of the institutions you are interested in. This will give you a feel for the culture of the institution, the experiences the students have access to, and will give you access to key dates for admission and open days.

Step 8: Apply for courses

Admission may be different for each institution you would like to apply, so carefully check the admission process for each place.

Make a note of key dates for auditions and interviews (if relevant) and application deadlines.

Ensure you also apply for backup pathway courses during the admission application process incase you don’t receive an offer to your desired course.

For example, if you would like to gain entry to the Bachelor of Acting, also apply for the Diploma of Acting if the institution offers both options. The Diploma may provide a direct pathway into the degree once you complete it.

Step 9: Prepare for the offer process

Ensure your email address is correct on your application forms and that you check it regularly.

If you move house or change your mobile phone number after you’ve applied, please ensure your details are updated with the institution if you’ve applied directly, or with the state-based Tertiary Admission Centre.

You should also apply for scholarships and accommodation during this period.


Ella is in Year 12 and loves playing acting. She would like to study acting but is concerned that she will be limiting her career options for the future. She also has an interest in teaching and would like to teach secondary school students.

Step 1: She would like to broaden her scope and study drama plus secondary teaching.

Step 2: Do to this, she will need to study a secondary teaching degree with a major in drama at university or a combined secondary teaching degree with a Bachelor degree that has a drama or theatre major.

Step 3: University

Step 4: She decides to study at a Government funded university. She will need to move away from home and the universities she has explored offer accommodation.

Step 5: She doesn’t want to move far from home, so she decides to research combined degrees in drama and secondary teaching in her state using the state-based Tertiary Admission Centre course search function.

On an Excel sheet, she makes a note of everything she will need to know about the courses.

Step 6: She contacts the institutions and makes a note of their open days. She attends them to get more information about her options.

Step 7: She joins the Facebook and Instagram pages of each institution she is interested in.

Step 8: She applies for the courses plus back up courses via the state-based Tertiary Admission Centre in August. She also registers for an audition at each institution that requires her to do so.

Step 9: She applies for scholarships and accommodation before the closing dates.

Now she just has to wait for offers to come out.