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    HEAD START: Horsham College students Jayde Ellis, year 11, and Connor Chivell, year 10, are taking part in a ‘Uni Step Up’ early entry program. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

World of opportunities thanks to university experience


Early exposure to university life is giving three Horsham College students a major confidence boost in their final two years of schooling. 

Connor Chivell, Jayde Ellis and Eve Thomas are among 30 students across Australia who were accepted into Australian Catholic University’s ‘Uni Step Up’ early entry program. 

The year-10 and 11 students are studying a semester-long subject online during term three, while juggling their schoolwork.  

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The program gives students a credit towards a related ACU degree and a conditional offer for admission on completing year 12.

The three students are looking at careers around exercise science, such as physiotherapy and sport and outdoor education, and are enrolled in a first-year school of behavioural and health sciences unit, ‘growth, motor development and ageing’.

Jayde, in year 11, said the class was giving her insight into what her future of learning might look like beyond school. 

“It’s been really good. We’ve finished all lectures and tutorials and we’ve just got a quiz and assessment to go. All the content is really good and all lectures have been informative,” she said. 

“I’d probably say the level of understanding you get through the uni course is more in-depth.”

Jayde said prioritising a university class with her schoolwork during the remote-learning period was tricky, but she relished the challenge.  

“I’ve actually really enjoyed it. I’ve found that my teachers are always there if you need them and it’s really easy to contact the university via email if I have any questions,” she said. 

“I have five spare periods a week through school, that’s when I sit down and do my uni study – it’s definitely a lot more responsibility. You really have to take your learning into your own hands.”

Jayde said she believed taking any opportunity would be particularly important for students and young people as Australia emerged from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It gives you a bit of a head-start. That’s especially important now, while jobs are minimal,” she said. 

“Just getting a bit of extra knowledge helps you get a foot in the door and be prepared.

“I’m keen to study exercise science or teaching – especially PE teaching. I like helping people and seeing them grow to achieve a goal. I love sport too, so I’m really interested in turning that into a job.” 

At 15, Connor is eager to gain an early introduction to university life. 

The year-10 student said the program was giving him a solid foundation in exercise physiology – an area he was determined to study further.  

“We’ve done two assessments and have two to go and I’m feeling pretty good about how it’s tracking so far,” he said.

“It’s been a good learning experience and a challenge trying to do my schoolwork on top of the uni classes, but I just try to get schoolwork done and uni later in the week and make sure I’m ahead,” he said. 

Connor said if he could gain early entrance into university it would be a major relief. 

“If I pass, I’ll get early acceptance into ACU for when I finish year 12 and that’s going to take a fair bit of the pressure off at the end of my schooling,” he said.

The entire September 16, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!