First taste of uni for students
How do you encourage a new generation of students to become the first in their families to go to university?
That was the question being tackled at the University of Adelaide recently.
This year, 79 Year 10 students across six schools have been participating in the University's "myth-busters" program, which aims to dispel myths about university life and study. The program culminated in a First Generation Day at the University.
The initiative is part of the State Government's First Generation Program being run in partnership with the state's three major universities at 23 schools this year.
South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Board Chief Executive Dr Paul Kilvert said the program linked with the intentions of the new compulsory SACE subject, the Personal Learning Plan, by encouraging students to research and assess further education, training and employment opportunities for the future.
"For some students, university may not seem a natural option," he said.
"Students often have pre-conceived ideas about whether they have the potential to meet the university entry requirements, the number of contact hours spent on campus, the jobs that qualifications can lead to, the affordability of going to university or the amount of study time associated with different degrees.
"In essence the objective of this program is to separate the myths from the facts and help the students to explore opportunities matching their interests and skills," Dr Kilvert said.
By attending program days and participating in activities that help them to identify university and career pathways, the students have been gaining a better understanding of what university life is like, from the lecture hall to the radio station.
The schools involved in the "myth-busters" program were Charles Campbell Secondary School, Temple Christian College, Seaford 6-12 School, Tatachilla Lutheran College, Thomas More College and William Light R-12 School.
With a choice of 200 degree programs on offer at the University of Adelaide, the students were surveyed at the start of the program to determine what would be beneficial and of interest to them.
First Generation program coordinator at the University Jen Hill said the students were particularly interested in engineering, health sciences, teaching, architecture and various fields of science.
"The students have been able to examine career options they might like to pursue and the university pathways that can take them there," Ms Hill said.
"By taking part in the program's activities, the students get a real impression of the skills needed to succeed at university, an understanding of the difference between high school education and university education, and encouragement to consider university as an achievable goal.
"Myth-busters is about giving first generation students the opportunity to experience what university is like and understand what it has to offer. It takes the `unknown' out of university, which empowers students to want to participate."
The final program day was centred on career development options, with the University's Careers Manager, Susan Hervey, talking about the benefits of university education and the job opportunities available to graduates.