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Regional students get a taste of uni

Vanessa Lam

24 December 2014: More than 370 high school students from rural and regional NSW high schools recently visited the University of Canberra for the UC 4 Yourself Expo.

The event, hosted by the University's Student Equity and Support Unit, (SEASU) was attended by students from high schools at Temora, Junee, Tumut, Eden-Marine, Bowral, Ulladulla, Wagga Wagga, Gundagai, Narooma and Leeton.

Now in its second year, UC 4 Yourself is held to give students from diverse backgrounds a chance to experience a university environment firsthand.

High school students at the science table watching how liquid nitrogen affects different objects at the UC 4 Yourself Expo

High school students at the science table watching how liquid nitrogen affects different objects at the UC 4 Yourself Expo. Photo: Vanessa Lam

In 2014, the University hosted 30 schools and more than 1,000 high school students at similar expos.

"These events not only provide information to students, they are also important for giving them confidence to aspire to higher education," Rebecca Mason from the University's student equity and outreach unit said.

"It may be their first visit to a university campus, and the first time they interact with university staff and students. The expos are important for giving students from rural or regional areas an opportunity to see a university campus firsthand, and to experience a course or degree they may have never considered before."

Over the two-day event, the students spoke to university staff and students about the different courses on offer and what student life is like. They also took part in workshops, toured student accommodation and explored the University's campus.

An open day style expo hall in the refectory included interactive demonstrations hosted by faculty academics and students, a photo booth, a DJ and market stalls.

The students also met former Brumbies and Wallabies player Clyde Rathbone, who spoke about the importance of education and his experience with setting goals, balancing commitments, and overcoming barriers.

"The benefit of having a guest speaker such as Clyde is immense – the students are inspired to pursue their passions, work hard, and never stop trying to achieve their dreams," Ms Mason said.

Two of the visitors, Year 9 students Sophie Thomson and Alice Egan from Wagga Wagga High School, said they enjoyed being able to look at all the different choices and options, as well as the extra curricular activities that the University had to offer. 

The SEASU hopes to offer more UC 4 Yourself University Experience days in 2015.