St Paul’s Blog

Do you have a topic that you would like covered on our blog? Email

The ultimate cheat sheet for NCEA University Entrance

Just because your teen has passed NCEA Levels 1, 2 and 3, this doesn't mean they will gain NCEA University Entrance (UE). In order for students to pass UE they must meet an additional set of criteria. Some schools monitor this more closely than others, so it's important for parents and teens to know and understand the criteria to ensure university is an option when graduating from high school.

University Entrance isn't a sure thing. Students need to ensure they meet the additional criteria if they want to go to university.

  1. You can't get UE without NCEA Level 3
    Your teen must pass Level 3 to be considered for UE. To do this they must accumulate 80 credits (60 from Level 3 or higher and 20 from any three levels). If your teen already has Level 2 then they only require 60 credits at Level 3 or higher because 20 credits will be 'rolled over' from their Level 2 certificate. 
  2. Not all subjects are created equal 
    To gain University Entrance, students must study three 'University Entrance approved' subjects and attain 14 credits from each of these subjects. Make sure your teen consults their dean before they start Level 3 to confirm they have three 'University Entrance approved' subjects in the mix.
  3. Literacy credits return
    There are two different literacy and numeracy credit requirements for UE. First is the literacy and numeracy credits your teen should have passed in Level 1 (they should already have 10 literacy and 10 numeracy credits to their name). Second, is the return of literacy credits at Level 3. Students must pass 10 literacy credits - 5 reading and 5 writing - at Level 2 or higher in addition to the 10 literacy credits from Level 1.
  4. Literacy credits does not necessarily equal English 
    Contrary to what you might believe, your teen's literacy credits do not need to be met through the subject English. This can be met through a range of subjects including Biology. History, Economics and Earth and Space Science. Have your teen consult with their dean when trying to meet the literacy and numeracy credit requirements. 
  5. There are other options
    Ultimately it's best to have your teen aim to pass University Entrance but if this doesn't happen there are other options. Many universities offer bridging or foundation courses. These courses are offered to students who don't meet the minimum requirements for a tertiary course; who haven't studied for a few years since leaving high school; or who would like to see what university study is like before making the financial commitment.  

To help you better understand NCEA, download this FREE eBook - Getting to grips with NCEA.

New Call-to-action