Senior students from Benalla secondary schools gained a greater understanding of further study options and university life, after a visit to Melbourne last month. Fifty-four local students had the opportunity to tour two university campuses; either RMIT University in the city and Latrobe University Bundoora, or Deakin University Burwood and Monash University Clayton.
Distance from major centres, lack of transport options and financial issues mean that country students often struggle to fully explore the options for further study. And with the challenge of leaving your home and community, the prospect of life as a university student in the city can be daunting.
Tomorrow Today’s Coordinator of Student Transitions, Deborah Paez, organised for former Benalla students who are now at university to join the campus tours.
“This trip was a great chance for current students to meet a number of former local students, including Jillian Cook, Natalie Penniceard, Christine Beling, Aidin Gingell and Emily McNiece,” Ms Paez said. “It gave our students the opportunity to talk to them about their unique experiences as rural ‘Freshers’, and to pick their brains for tips and advice.”
For more than a third of the students, this was their first visit to a university. Campus tours and ‘Challenges’ provided an insight into campus life, covering teaching areas, student accommodation and recreation.
Students reported that the tours: “showed me that uni really does appeal to me”; “cleared up a lot of worry I had for living with a bunch of strangers” and “have shown me that there are many ways to get into uni if you don’t get the (score) you need.”
Tomorrow Today provided funding for the buses and co-ordinated the day in conjunction with Benalla P-12 College and FCJ College.
“Surveys completed by students on the way home showed that most had gained information that would help them make an enrolment decision later on. For us as organisers, that is what it is all about,” said Ms Paez.