Increasing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at university was the focus of an outreach program held at Ulladulla High School recently.
The University of Sydney ran the program at the school for the second year in a row, delivering academic and personal preparation workshops ahead of the HSC and university application time.
University of Sydney Head of Widening Participation and Outreach Mary Teague said the regional roadshows saw students participate in workshops to support their transition to university.
“During the roadshows students can participate in a number of workshops to support them in transitioning to uni, preparing for senior study and the HSC exams, and get survival information on what it’s like in the first year of uni,” Ms Teague said.
“These learning experiences are a critical ingredient to support student success and academic attainment, and we strongly believe in supporting regional schools and students.”
Ulladulla High School year 11 student Paris Fishlock, who is an Awabikal woman, said she learnt about the pathways that can be taken to university.
“It showed me that there is not only one option of going to uni, and there any many ways that the uni can support me getting in,” she said.
“The skills they taught us about writing scholarship applications and how my skills can be transferred into applications was cool because I really want to go to uni and I know these skills will help me.”
Ulladulla High School careers advisor Karen Ingold said the program was “fantastic”. She said many students had “very limited” knowledge of university and what was involved.
“It is really inspiring for them,” she said.
“The activities can be really helpful for them as a starting point, especially for our year 11s, who are still fairly unsure about what they’ll be thinking after Year 12.”
Mrs Ingold said university was a foreign concept for a lot of students who may be the first in their family to gain a higher education.
“For many of our students, they are first in the family and they may not even have any knowledge of anyone that’s been to uni,” she said.
“The outreach programs coming to visit regional schools is a really great opportunity for students give them a taste of what university may be like, what uni might be able to offer them, and to be able to see that it is a realistic option for them.”