Young woman singing holding a microphone with one hand up in the air

Early entry scheme to study music eases HSC stress for students

12 June 2024
Early admission before ATAR results based on performance talent
Students Charlotte Bertwistle and Bailey Schultz share their experiences with the Creative Arts Special Admissions Scheme (CASAS), and how having a secured spot at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music made Year 12 life easier.

The Creative Arts Special Admissions Scheme is a pathway available to students applying for the Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music (Composition) and Bachelor of Music (Performance), with entry based on portfolios, auditions, and interviews. The CASAS program makes a world of difference to future students of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music by providing an early unconditional offer to study at the university. 

A young woman dancing on stage

Charlotte Bertwistle performing on stage 

This was certainly the case for first-year Bachelor of Music (Performance) student Charlotte Bertwistle, who grew up in regional Bathurst and has been looking forward to studying music theatre since Year 8. “I took every chance to perform, whether it be music class, dance concerts or school showcases, stepping onto a stage filled me with indescribable joy” she shared. 

After seeing her friends apply for similar programs, Charlotte applied for the CASAS program at the Con. “I knew that if I was guaranteed a place before the HSC, I could focus solely on my studies while not facing the stress of meeting strict ATAR requirements and further university applications,” she said. 

For Charlotte, receiving an early offer to study performance was “truly a weight lifted” off her shoulders, and the relief of having an early offer had a positive impact on her time during the HSC exam period. 

I was able to enjoy my final weeks of high school without the overwhelming pressure of meeting an academic threshold to be accepted into a course. It was also nice to know that I had a secure place in a course that I loved waiting for me, almost like a light at the end of a tunnel!
Charlotte Bertwistle

The relief felt by receiving an early offer was also shared by Bailey Schultz, a first-year Bachelor of Music (Performance) student from the Hunter region who has been passionate about drumming since the age of 8. He decided to take studying music seriously in Year 11 and was encouraged by his school to apply for the CASAS scheme.

Bailey applied because he knew it would "take the pressure off for [his] HSC exams.” He said: “I would not have the stress of waiting for my ATAR and not have to settle for any other early offers I received which were lower preferences.”

Young man playing the drums

Bailey Schultz performing on the drums

Receiving an early offer to study at the Sydney Conservatorium had a significant impact on me, as it meant that I had an offer for my top preference before completing my HSC exams.
Bailey Schultz

The Application Process

For his application, Bailey submitted a portfolio and did an online audition. He found the process “super simple.” For any students thinking of applying, Bailey said: “I would definitely recommend that you don’t leave it to the last minute like I did! It’s a great idea to be well-prepared and practice as often as possible.”

Charlotte also found the application process “straightforward and manageable under the Year 12 workload.”

“After applying through UAC by the relevant deadline, you are simply required to submit the required audition material for your prospective course. The rest is then up to the university as they then externally consider your Year 11 and 12 academic results/estimated ATAR and decide the outcome of your application!” she explained. 

When asked what advice she would pass on to future applicants, she also commented on how important it is to be organised. “The audition deadlines and requirements vary between universities/courses and can easily creep up on you, especially if you are juggling the HSC simultaneously. In an audition or interview, you want to present the best version of yourself and your craft, so know what is required and come prepared to deliver your best work.”

Studying at the Con

With the stress of the HSC behind them, both students are enjoying pursuing their passions through their studies.

The best thing about studying at the Con though? “Beyond being a haven of all things creative, The Con provides its students with so many incredible opportunities and avenues,” says Charlotte.

As a musician, the best thing about studying at The Con is becoming immersed in the supportive environment of like-minded people who share a love for the arts.
Charlotte Bertwistle

Bailey is also enjoying the welcoming environment at the Con. “For me, getting to meet new, like-minded people at the Con who share the same connection to music as you is the best thing so far as it leads to a lot of networking opportunities and collaboration.”

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