When Deborah Morgan-Zammit had her first child at the age of 16, she didn't believe she would one day fulfil her lifelong dream of being a teacher.
Twenty-two years later and with her youngest child finishing school, Ms Morgan-Zammit enrolled in the University of Newcastle's Open Foundation program - Australia's leading tertiary preparation program - to turn her dream into reality.
Applications close on Wednesday 18 June for entry into the Intensive Open Foundation program – a full-time program starting in July that can provide a qualification for entry into a degree program in 2009.
Ms Morgan-Zammit - now 44, with three children and three grandchildren - is one of thousands of people who have gained undergraduate qualifications after successfully completing Intensive Open Foundation.
"When my youngest child finished school I was only 38 and I had to make a decision about what I would do for the rest of my life," Ms Morgan-Zammit said.
"I saw a newspaper article about Intensive Open Foundation and it struck me that if I could enrol in the course and pass, then there was a good chance I could finally be a teacher."
Ms Morgan-Zammit, of Narara, began Intensive Open Foundation in July 2002 and started a Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts degree program at the University's Central Coast campus in 2003. She graduated with honours earlier this year and is now teaching.
"During my Open Foundation experience I learned so much - not just academic skills and knowledge, but about real life.
"The Intensive program is great because you get a realistic prelude to what full-time academic study is all about. It's demanding but takes only four months to complete and as a result you need to quickly develop the skills needed to manage your workload.
"I would recommend Open Foundation to anyone wanting to make their dream job a reality, just like I have."
Open Foundation is the ideal entry path to university for people over the age of 21 who have not completed high school, are looking for a career change or wanting to do something different with their lives.
For more information call 1800 353 775 or visit www.newcastle.edu.au/elfsc
Open Foundation program representatives will be at Erina Fair Shopping Centre at Erina on the Central Coast on Friday 13 June from 10am - 4pm and at the University's Newcastle campus (Callaghan) on Saturday 14 June from 10am - midday in the McMullin Theatre.