The University of Newcastle, Australia

Demystifying University

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Students tackle tertiary education preconceptions

Tony Butterfield (former Newcastle Knights player), with students from Bulahdelah Central School and Gorokan High School

A rugby league development program held yesterday at the University of Newcastle addressed preconceptions regarding access to tertiary education, as part of a drive to increase education levels in the Hunter Region.

The project introduced Year 10 and Year 11 students to university life to increase their understanding of, and aspiration for, higher education.

"The program draws on the familiar experience of rugby league to demystify university for high school students and help them make informed choices about their educational future," said project leader, Dr Michael Seamer.

Visiting high school students from Bulahdelah Central School and Gorokan High School were immersed in University culture as part of the day-long program, which consisted of clinics delivered by Tony Butterfield (former Newcastle Knight and Newcastle Business School graduate) and personal development workshops focused on goal setting and exploring post-school options.

"The program aims to help those students who may not have considered a tertiary pathway to see university as a realistic possibility," said Dr Seamer.

"We aim to establish, build and maintain strong partnerships between the University and our schools across the Hunter and Central Coast, while developing and supporting opportunities for our primary and secondary students to participate in educational experiences."

The University of Newcastle is one of the top universities in Australia for student retention and socioeconomic equity, having received five stars for each measure in the recently published Good Universities Guide 2014.

The University of Newcastle plays a critical role in increasing social mobility and improving outcomes for communities traditionally under-represented in higher education.

However, widening access does not mean compromising on quality.  A high retention rate of greater than 80 percent means the University is not just encouraging students from all walks of life to aspire to tertiary education; it is doing a better job than most other universities at keeping them engaged in study.

  • Sheena Martin
  • Phone: +61 2 4921 8714

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