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The Definitive Guide to Getting a Brisbane School Scholarship

Brisbane scholarships
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Wondering how Brisbane scholarships work across the best high schools in Brisbane?

Private school scholarships

We show you how to get a scholarship to the best high schools in Brisbane.

Private school scholarships are available in Brisbane but they’re highly sought after and very competitive. How to get a full scholarship or bursary grant largely comes down to your child’s results in the annual ACER or Edutest scholarship examination held in February/March each year.

What is the ACER test for Brisbane scholarships?

The ACER exam is a nationwide test sat each February or March to help schools decide on scholarship candidates for the following year. The tests cover a series of academic aptitudes relevant to the scholarship criteria including the ability to interpret, infer, deduce and think critically. The tests are not curriculum based.

Parents must enrol their child as a candidate and can then access resources, mock exams and teaching materials to assist their child perform well.

The ACER site offers online prep testing to enrolled students. Once registered, you can directly apply for Brisbane scholarships via the site. The more scholarships you apply for, the more tests your child will need to sit – it pays to focus on your preferred school.

Tests are available for students entering year five through to senior. Some Brisbane schools will only consider candidates who list their scholarship as their first choice, so be selective when choosing your preferred school. Testing usually costs around $100 per test.

What is the EduTest for Brisbane scholarships?

The EduTest is of a similar premise to the ACER. It’s just a case of selecting the test that the school you’ve got in mind generally uses. With both the ACER and the EduTest you need to ensure that your application is for the correct school so we can’t advise enough – check carefully!

So how do you give your child the opportunity to secure a scholarship at a Brisbane private school? Here’s the facts and the opportunities.

The difference between a scholarship and a bursary

A scholarship is a set fees program awarded to a student meeting the specific scholarship criteria. Usually these are students who excel academically and score extremely highly on the ACER or Edutest exam.

A bursary is ad-hoc funding offered by the most elite schools in Brisbane. Qualification for a bursary is largely up to the school Principal. In most cases, a bursary is offered to students already at the school, who demonstrate all-round achievement but lack the financial means to pay full fees. A bursary may come in the form of discounted school fees or free tuition.

This is a good option for kids who do well on the ACER exam but not quite well enough to nail one of the highly sought after private school scholarships.

High schools offering Brisbane scholarships

These are the most in-demand scholarships available to Brisbane kids. How to get one of the top Brisbane scholarhips will depend on the individual school’s criteria. It’s vital to read up on the best school scholarship options before listing your preferences in the ACER system. Some schools also use the Edutest system.

Brisbane Grammar School scholarships

Brisbane Grammar School

Scholarship Name: Trustee’s Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 7

Criteria: ACER Performance plus Principal interview. In addition to this the student must demonstrated willingness to actively participate in the wider school community.

Bursary Options: General Bursaries, Boarding Bursary, BGS/ICPA Bursary

General Bursaries: Available to all students deemed “talented all-rounders” making a significant contribution to the Grammar school and community. General bursaries cover all or part of the student’s tuition.

Boarding Bursaries: These are full or partial subsidies on boarding costs for students that are deemed “talented all-rounders” who could not otherwise afford to attend the school.

BGS/ICPA Bursary: Available to students entering year 10 or 11 who will relocate from a rural or remote location. Short listed applicants must attend an interview with the headmaster in person or via Skype.

Is Grammar the best option for your son? Read more about the school on our Brisbane Grammar Parent Fact Sheet.

Brisbane Girls Grammar School Bursaries

Brisbane Girls Grammar School review

Brisbane Girls Grammar School welcomes bursary applications for students commencing Year 7 in 2022. The following needs-based bursaries are awarded to students who display the qualities of a Grammar Girl—curious, principled, adventurous, balanced and independent—but who would be unable to attend the School without financial assistance.

Bursary Names: Maria Sulima Bursary and Effie Guille Memorial Bursary

Commencement Grade: Year 7

Criteria: Applicants must sit the ACER 2021 Cooperative Scholarship Test and return the relevant completed application form (available on the School’s website) with supporting documents by Monday 1 March 2021.

Is Girls Grammar the best option for your son? Read more about the school on our Brisbane Girls Grammar Parent Fact Sheet.

Anglican Church Grammar School (Churchie)

Anglican Church Grammar School

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 5-11

Criteria: ACER Performance plus Principal interview. Student must demonstrate excellence in at least one area of academic achievement.

Scholarship Name: Musical Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 5-11

Criteria: ACER Performance plus Principal interview. Student must demonstrate excellence in music. Music Scholarships are available for instrumentalists who have achieved at least Grade 3 AMEB performance or equivalent on a wind instrument, Grade 5 on a string instrument and/or Grade 6 on piano.

Scholarship Name: Choral Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 4-5

Criteria: ACER Performance plus Principal interview. Student must demonstrate excellence in vocal ability. These scholarships are valid until year 8.

Scholarship Name: Foundation Scholarships and Bursaries

Commencement Grade: All Grades

Criteria: These are special scholarships and bursaries funded by the school’s foundation. These are determined on a case by case basis.

  • The Cliff Ashdown Bursary – to enable students to stay at the school when a family’s financial situation has changed.
  • The Rural Boarders Bursary – offered to students from Western Queensland to offset the costs of studying away from home
  • The Clem Jones Football (soccer) Scholarship.
  • The Butler Rural Bursary – offered to students of rural communities to offset the costs of studying away from home
  • The Ben Bolger Memorial Music Scholarship.
  • The Overseas Study Scholarship for Old Boys.

Is Churchie the best school for your Brisbane child? Read more about the school on our Churchie Parent Fact Sheet.

Brisbane Boys’ College scholarships

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: 7-11

Criteria: ACER Examination, Principal’s interview as well as a track record of excellent overall academic performance managed via the school’s MAP centre. The ACER exam for this scholarship will be held in March. These scholarships can be used for extension activities in addition to the school’s tuition.

Scholarship Name: Decus Scholarships

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: This scholarship recognises excellence in sports and performing arts.

Scholarship Name: Boarding Scholarships

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: Awarded to students who show outstanding academic and all-round achievement who wish to board at the school.

Scholarship Name: Guy Roberts Memorial Scholarship

Commencement Grade: 9-12

Criteria: Awarded to student with excellent leadership skills, sound academic achievements and who contributes to the school culture.

Scholarship Name: Bush Kids Bursary

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: As an addition to the Boarding Scholarship this bursary is awarded to a deserving student from a rural or remote area deemed likely to enhance the school culture.

Is Brisbane Boys’ College the best school for your Brisbane child? Read more about the school on our Brisbane Boys’ College Parent Fact Sheet.

Clayfield College

Scholarship Name: Project 1 Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 7 and 10

Criteria: ACER Examination (if entering the school), Principal’s interview as well as a commitment to enhancing the reputation of the school. This includes a commitment to pursuing an OP level of no lower than 2 and remaining in the top 5% of their class.

Scholarship Name: Excellence Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 6 and 11

Criteria: “Straight A” results, Principal’s interview as well as achievements in two areas study. These include sports, cultural and academic areas. The student must remain in the top 10% of their grade to continue on with this scholarship.

Scholarship Name: ICPA Bursary

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: This bursary assists students relocating from rural or remote location to study at the school

Scholarship Name: Music Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 7 and 10

Criteria: Demonstrable excellence in music performance

Is Clayfield College the best Brisbane school for your daughter? Learn more on our Clayfield College Fact Sheet.

IES College – Spring Hill

IES College students

IES College offers a range of scholarships.

Scholarship Name: Diversity & Belonging Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 11 in 2021

Criteria: Diversity & Belonging Scholarships strive to offer an inclusive, accepting learning environment and community for all students. The Diversity & Belonging Scholarship is designed to assist talented individuals from diverse or underrepresented backgrounds.

Scholarship Name: Academic Excellence Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 11 in 2021

Criteria: Academic Excellence Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence and values of respect, responsibility and compassion. The scholarship is awarded based on previous academic reports and a 300 word statement on the topic ‘What personal and academic attributes do you possess which will allow you to succeed as a student of the International Baccalaureate Programme?’

Scholarship Name: United Against COVID-19 Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 11 in 2021

Criteria: United Against COVID-19 Scholarships are offered to families going through financial hardship due to the global pandemic.

Are you after a boutique school with a holistic and inclusive approach to learning? Learn more on about IES and its scholarships on https://iescollege.com/scholarships.

*Scholarships are available for Australian citizens and permanent residents only.

Are you considering IES College for your son? Learn more in our IES College Parent Fact Sheet

Marist College Ashgrove

Scholarship Name: Boarding Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 7

Criteria: ACER results, Principal’s interview and academic record. These two scholarships are usually awarded to students from remote locations. Registration is in the month of October.

Scholarship Name: School Association Bursaries and Scholarships

Commencement Grade: All

  • Champagnat Trust Bursaries – Awarded to high achieving students from families in financial need
  • Rex O’Regan Memorial Bursary – Awarded to high achieving students from families in remote locations
  • Patricia Keating Memorial Bursary – Awarded to high achieving students on the basis of financial need.
  • Old Boys’ Bursaries – Awarded to students who are sons of “Old Boys” and require financial assistance.
  • Indigenous Scholarships – Two boarding scholarships available to Indigenous students.

Are you considering Marist College for your son? Learn more in our Marist Brothers College Parent Fact Sheet

Moreton Bay College

Moreton Bay College Manly West

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 7 -11

Criteria: ACER results, Principal’s interview and academic records.

Scholarship Name: Excellence Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 7 -11

Criteria: ACER results, Principal’s interview and performance in a chosen field. Available to academic subjects, music, performing arts and sports focused students. Students must be able to demonstrate outstanding character and dedication to the school.

Are you considering Moreton Bay College for your daughter? Read more about the school in our Parent Fact Sheet on Moreton Bay College.

Moreton Bay Boys’ College

Moreton_Bay_Boys_College offer brisbane scholarships

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 7 -11

Criteria: ACER results, Principal’s interview and academic records. There are multiple academic scholarships available. ACER exams take place in August.

Are you considering Moreton Bay Boys’ College for your son? Check out our Moreton Bay Boys’ College Parent Fact Sheet now.

Ormiston College scholarships

how to get a scholarship in Brisbane

Scholarship Name: Excellence Scholarships

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: ACER Performance plus Principal interview. Student must demonstrate excellence in at least one area of academic or sport study.

Scholarship Name: Intake Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 7 Only

Criteria: ACER Performance plus Principal interview. Student must produce a portfolio to demonstrate their achievements.

Is Ormiston the best school for your Brisbane child? Read more about the school on our Ormiston Parent Fact Sheet.

Padua College Brisbane

padua college offer brisbane scholarships

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Year 7 – 9 and 10-12

Criteria: ACER results, Principal’s interview and academic records. There are multiple academic scholarships available. ACER exams take place in August.

Scholarship Name: Allan and Joan Napier Music Bursary

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: Determined by the school faculty

Is Padua the right choice for your son? Learn more about the school on our Padua College Fact Sheet for parents.

Sheldon College

Scholarship Name: Full and Half Scholarships

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: ACER Examination, Principal’s interview as well as a track record of excellent overall academic performance. The ACER exam for this scholarship will focus on written expression, humanities, mathematics and science.

Scholarship Name: Sports Scholarship

Commencement Grade: All

Criteria: Individually assessed by the college Director of Sport.

Is Sheldon college the best Brisbane school for your child? Read our Sheldon College Parent Fact Sheet for more information.

Somerville House

Somerville House offer brisbane scholarships

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarship

Commencement Grade: Year 7 -11

Criteria: ACER results, Principal’s interview and academic records. There are multiple academic scholarships available. ACER exams take place in February.

Bursary: Fee Assistance

Commencement Grade: Year 7 -11

Criteria: This is a means-tested subsidy for talented students from families facing financial difficulties.

Do you think Somerville House is the best Brisbane high school for your daughter? Find out more with our Somerville House Parent Fact Sheet.

St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarship

Commencement Grade: Year 7 and 9-11

Criteria: ACER results, Principal’s interview and academic records. Scholarships are awarded to girls who exhibit the qualities and aims of the school.

Scholarship Name: Mathematics and Science Scholarships

Commencement Grades: Year 7 -11

Criteria: Awarded to students who achieve excellence in mathematics or any of the sciences.

Scholarship Name: General Excellence Scholarships

Commencement Grades: Year 7 -11

Criteria: Awarded to students who achieve excellence across both academic studies and sports or arts.   Students should have achieved State or national Level in sport or the equivalent of Grade 5 AMEB in cultural activities.

Bursaries are available upon discussion with the Principal.

Considering St Aidan’s for your daughter’s high school education? Learn more with our St Aidan’s Parent Fact Sheet.

St Columban’s College, Caboolture

Scholarship Name: Full and Partial Scholarships

Commencement Grade: 7

Criteria: ACER examination results based on exams sat during May in the year prior to enrolment. Scholarships are available to students who can demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to Catholic ideals. St Columban’s also offers bursaries on a case by case basis.

Is St Columban’s College the best school for you? Learn more on our St Columban’s Parent Fact Sheet.

St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace (Terrace)

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 7

Criteria: ACER exam results, primary school results, Principal’s interview and membership of the Catholic faith. ACER testing takes place in February.

Is Terrace the best high school in Brisbane for your son? Check out our Gregory Terrace Fact Sheet for Parents.

St. Joseph’s Nudgee College (Nudgee College)

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 7-11

Criteria: ACER exam results, primary school results, Principal’s interview and overall achievement in academic pursuits.

Scholarship Name: Sports Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 7-11

Criteria: Outstanding achievement in sports

Nudgee College also provides two bursary funds for outstanding students from families experiencing financial difficulties.

Is Nudgee your top choice of high school for your son? Learn more about the school with our Nudgee College Parent Fact Sheet.

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls’ School

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 7-11

Criteria: ACER exam results, Principal’s interview and adherence with the qualities and values of the school.

Scholarship Name: Mathematics Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 7-11

Criteria: ACER exam results, Principal’s interview, achievements in mathematics and adherence with the qualities and values of the school.

Scholarship Name: Arts Performance Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 7-11

Criteria: Principal’s interview, Grade 4 in AMEB for cultural or musical activities, ACER exam results and adherence with the qualities and values of the school.

Scholarship Name: Sports Performance Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 7-11

Criteria: Principal’s interview, state or national level achievements in sport, ACER exam results and adherence with the qualities and values of the school.

Scholarship Name: Boarding Bursary

Commencement Grades: Year 7-11

Criteria: Principal’s interview, high academic achievement, adherence with the qualities and values of the school and a home address more than 200kms from the school. These may be means tested.

Considering  for your daughter? Learn more in our St Margaret’s Parent Fact Sheet.

St Peters Lutheran College – Indooroopilly

St Peters Lutheran College

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: 7 & 10

Criteria: Edutest Examination– Academic Scholarships for students entering Years 7 & 10 in 2022 are now open. The test will be held on Saturday 20 February 2021. Registrations close: Friday 12 February 2021.

Scholarship Name: Excellence Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 7 – 12

Criteria: Excellence Scholarships for 2022 (Music, Sport, Visual Arts & Drama) open on February 1. A resume with supporting evidence is req uired. Applications close 1 June 2021.

Scholarship Name: Boarding Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 7 – 11

Criteria: Awarded to students who show outstanding academic and all-round achievement who wish to board at the school.

Scholarship Name: Rural Leadership Scholarship

Commencement Grade: 10 -12

Criteria: Awarded to student with excellent leadership skills, sound academic achievements and who contributes to the school culture.

Is St Peters Lutheran College the best school for your Brisbane child? Read more about the school on our St Peters Parent Fact Sheet.

Stuartholme School

stuartholme school offer brisbane scholarships

Scholarship Name: Sr Mary Brennan Scholarship for Excellence

Commencement Grades: Year 7, 10 and 11

Criteria: Principal’s interview, ACER exam results and overall academic performance.

Scholarship Name: Sharon Beirne Memorial Scholarship

Commencement Grades: Year 10

Criteria: Scholarship to encourage academically gifted girls to complete senior.

Scholarship Name: The Nora Leyne Bursary

Commencement Grades: All

Criteria: This bursary is to assist girls of parents experiencing financial difficulties

Scholarship Name: The Moreen Acton Bursary

Commencement Grades: Year 10

Criteria: This bursary is to assist boarders in staying on to complete senior at the school

Considering Stuartholme for your daughter? Learn more in our Stuartholme School Parent Fact Sheet.

The Lakes College

how to get a brisbane scholarship

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Scholarships are subject to a place being available in the requested year level.

Criteria: Academic Excellence Scholarships are awarded on the basis of outstanding results achieved in scholarship testing, previous academic records and an interview with the Principal or Head of School.

Scholarship Name: Performance Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Scholarships are subject to a place being available in the requested year level.

Criteria: Performance Scholarships are designed to identify and celebrate students who demonstrate the qualities, potential and leadership to make a significant contribution to the College.

Scholarship Name: Grade 6 School Leader Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Grade 6

Criteria: School Leader Scholarships are offered to outstanding Year 6 School Leaders currently not enrolled at The Lakes College and provides them with a reduction on tuition fees for Year 7.

Scholarship Name: Music Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Scholarships are subject to a place being available in the requested year level.

Music Scholarships are offered to students of exceptional musical ability in one or more areas of vocal or instrumental performance. These students will be cultural leaders of the TLC music programs, providing examples of excellence to the TLC community.

Scholarship Name: Dance Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Scholarships are subject to a place being available in the requested year level.

Criteria: Dance Scholarships are awarded to dancers who through their talent have achieved a high level of success. Shortlisted applicants will complete an audition and scholarship interview. Scholarship recipients are expected to be actively involved in the school community and represent the school in activities as required.

Considering The Lakes College for your child? Learn more in our The Lakes College Parent Fact Sheet.

The Springfield Anglican College

The Springfield Anglican College

Scholarship Name: Academic Scholarships

Commencement Grade: Years 7, 8, 9 and 10

Criteria: Edutest Acadmic Test (taking place on Saturday 6 March 2021), Scholarship Application Form including copies of reports and NAPLAN results, details of academic achievements and awards. Principal Interview and a willingness to make a positive contribution to academic life at TSAC.

To learn more about The Springfield Anglican College and our Scholarships, please click here.

Considering The Springfield Anglican College for your child? Learn more in our The Springfield Anglican College Parent Fact Sheet.

What are the steps to getting a Brisbane scholarship?

1. Research

Don’t just look at what’s required for the application. The smart money is looking beyond that. What is the educational philosophy of the school? What are their morals and values? What’s their mission statement?

See the kind of language they use to talk about their students and try to mirror that in the way you speak to them. Any verbal or written communication should be formal, respectful and should adhere to their ethos.

2. Take a tour

Get on the ground and attend Open Days and school tours to see this school in action. Can you see your child there? Will they be happy? Does it match their interests?

If possible talk to other families and students who already attend the College. Check out their social media presence. Don’t rely on information from people who had involvement in the school years ago – things change.

3. Collection of evidence for Brisbane scholarships

The ACER or EduTest is but one part of the picture. The school will also be interested in seeing the additional information you include with your private school scholarship application.

  • Extra or additional information can include:
  • Evidence of any extra or co curricula involvement
  • Evidence of any volunteer or community work
  • Evidence of achievements at a primary school, local, state or national level
  • Evidence of talents and skill (music, sport, art, cultural)

Package your evidence together as professionally as you can (either digital or hard copy) and make sure the school sees it.

4. Preparing for the interview

It’s not a job interview! The school will genuinely want to meet your child. Resist the temptation to practice and drill interview answers so your child sounds like a robot. Keep them natural, encourage them to show their unique and special individuality and take the pressure off. They won’t be judged if they feel shy!

5. Discussing outcomes

As with anything in life, it’s important to be prepared and to encourage resilience. Your child might be successful getting a Brisbane scholarship, but they also might not be. It will not be the end of the world if they miss out – it will just mean that there is another path for them instead.

8 responses to “The Definitive Guide to Getting a Brisbane School Scholarship”

  1. Inja says:

    A very informative article! It’s really helpful 🙂

  2. Lauren says:

    Great article full of fantastic info. Don’t forget some state high schools offer merit entry as well

  3. Julia says:

    Perfect! Helpful information! Thanks for the sample test-link 🙂

  4. Yolande says:

    So can we just sign our child up to do one exam or do they have to do lots of exams – are they all the same?

  5. Myheartisinherts says:

    This is a great list!! Thank you!! Now to get the boy motivated to do the test!! 🙂

  6. Will says:

    I don’t think you need a private school education, you can get the same marks at a good local state school.

  7. Vicky says:

    I didn’t realise that they could register with one central organisation. I thought it was like, going around to each school and writing submissions etc. I have been dreading it because I think I will send my daughter to Clayfield College but want to put her name down at a couple of other girls’ schools in the area too. I’d like to see how she goes on that test, the sample questions don’t look too scary.

  8. Ursula says:

    So, if my son gets good grades and “shines” at a school with bursaries, I can get some help with fees? My son is really bright but I can’t possibly afford the schools I’d like him to go to. I will sign him up for the test, but I like the idea of the bursaries too.

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