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Canberra high school students experiencing uni life at UC through new program

Katarina Slavich

30 April 2021: The University of Canberra is giving college students across the capital a taste of university life through the UC Accelerated Pathways Program.

Officially launched this week, the program is being delivered as part of a partnership between the University, the ACT Government and the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies, and is an exciting opportunity for Canberra’s Year 11 and 12 students to gain useful skills and help prepare them for future tertiary study.

Over the next two years, 65 students from several ACT secondary schools will complete a University of Canberra unit of study, which will contribute to their ACT Senior Secondary Certificate and their Tertiary Entrance Statement. Successful students will also earn credit towards a future University of Canberra degree.

The extension courses allow students to pursue study in areas of interest, including Anatomy and Physiology, Business Decision Making, Information Technology and Understanding People and Behaviour (Psychology).

By delivering the learning content over an extended period, students will be able to engage more deeply with and develop an understanding of the content matter, which will successfully prepare them for their future studies more deeply.

“We know that for many students participating in this program, this will be their first exposure to university life,” said Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Paddy Nixon.

“It’s an opportunity to test the waters and really decide if university is the right pathway for them after school.

“We know that student preparedness is an important indicator of future student success and retention, and this program directly addresses readiness for tertiary education.”

In addition to completing the unit of study, students will also have access to the services and facilities provided on the University’s Bruce campus to help them transition to university life − including the Library, Medical and Counselling Centre, Student Wellbeing and Support and Study Skills.

Year 11 student at Trinity Christian School, Ethan Hardham, chose Anatomy and Physiology as his unit of study as he hopes to pursue a career in Physiotherapy.

“I am most excited for the learning, to understand what the course will provide but also for the university experience,” said Mr Hardham.

“I know college work is very different to university standards, so I hope to get a lot of academic learning out of this course.”

Maddison Wilson, a Year 11 student at Merici College, chose a Psychology unit as she hopes to pursue a career in the field.

“I am not quite sure yet what area of psychology I want to go into, so I am hoping I can get more experience and gain more insight into the field through a university-style program,” said Ms Wilson.

“I am excited to be in a class with other enthusiastic learners and learn from top-notch educators, because I have only had the college experience so far.”

Professor Nixon said he is excited to see the students thrive in their studies and open a pathway to ongoing engagement with the University.

“We are excited to provide all students with an immersive and exciting educational experience that helps instill in them the values of lifelong learning, regardless of if their continued pathway post-school is into UC, or even into university,” said Professor Nixon.

“In all that we do, our goal is to deliver the best outcome for students and set them up for success in their studies, and this program is just one of the ways that we can help to achieve this.”

Photos by Maddi Green