Australian universities are increasingly using secondary school recommendations to create early entry pathways, enabling a wide range of capable students to enter university irrespective of their socio-economic background. Given their expanded use, it is important to determine the predictive validity of school recommendations. Drawing on detailed findings from an alternative entry pathway programme at an Australian university, we find that school recommendation schemes produce successful students, but that the success of most students is not attributable to the predictive powers of schools. Moreover, the combination of academic requirements together with school recommendations may add an additional and unnecessary layer of selection for disadvantaged students. Further work is needed by both universities and schools to ensure that such schemes are streamlined wherever possible and are able to fulfil the purpose for which they were intended.