Headstart stretches talented students
The University of Adelaide has welcomed the latest crop of prodigies to its Headstart scholarship program, which accelerates entry into tertiary study.
The four participants, aged from 14 to 16, are all taking Maths 1, including a special incubator tutorial series. They are: Philipp Algeuer (Prince Alfred College), Phillip Nguyen (Glenunga International High School), Anton Ametov (St Ignatius College) and Glenn Sneddon (The Heights School).
All four received scores of 20 for at least one of their Year 12 Maths subjects and 19 was the lowest score presented.
Launched in 2001, the Headstart program meets the needs of gifted and exceptionally motivated secondary school students who require a challenge beyond Year 12.
NSW import Philipp Algeuer, 14, is one of the youngest students to attend the University of Adelaide, blitzing the equivalent of Specialist Maths and Maths Studies at Hunter Valley Grammar in 2005. Philipp's family moved to Adelaide this year specifically to fast track his education via Prince Alfred College and the University of Adelaide.
Prince Alfred College was one of the few schools in Australia to allow Philipp to study part-time at university, despite his obvious ability. He has been studying accelerated Maths since Year 1.
The Co-ordinator of First Year Maths at the University of Adelaide, David Parrott, said he was very pleased with the calibre of this year's students.
"They represent a remarkable range of schools and we're privileged to have them on board."
University Maths tutor Vern Treilibs said the Headstart program recognised that gifted students needed lateral extension. "We don't put them under pressure but it's important their talents are nurtured."
"Unfortunately, many secondary schools have a problem with the concept of pupils missing classes. Schools see themselves as also providing a socialisation role and many of them are reluctant to accelerate kids."
The Headstart scholarship pays for the students' university tuition fees for up to 12 units (the equivalent of a semester's full time workload).
Headstart students attend classes and sit examinations on the same basis as other students. Grades are recorded and may be used for status if the student is later admitted to an academic program. This enables students to fast-track their program or take a wider range of courses than usual. However, the main benefit of the scheme is the extra challenge and stimulation provided by university study.
Story by Candy Gibson