High Performing Students Program

A joint initiative of the University of Newcastle and NSW Department of Education.

High performing studentsThe High Performing Students Program gives exceptional high school students the opportunity to get a 'taste' of tertiary education by undertaking first year university courses while still at school.

The University of Newcastle program provides students with opportunities to fulfil their academic potential, help with career decisions, and can lead to credit for university studies.

Now running for over ten years, the program is delivered at Merewether High School but is open to students from all schools in the region. The program aims to keep our best and brightest in the region, and to build opportunities for local growth.

Support for students

Students in the High Performing Students Program benefit from:

  • individual learning plans
  • career discussion
  • industry visits

Students enrol in University of Newcastle courses and become university students. They have access to all University facilities, including the libraries (excluding restricted areas). Educational technologies – such as Canvas – are a feature of all courses, and approaches to teaching and learning are innovative and sensitive to diverse student needs.

Courses are typically 15 weeks long. In the case of science courses, students complete 'wet labs' at the University of Newcastle during the school holiday period. Industry visits may also be included, and all excursions are conducted in line with NSW Department of Education policy.

When a course is successfully completed, students are eligible for a credit transfer in a relevant university degree program.

Am I eligible?

There are no age restrictions for enrolment but students must display a suitable level of maturity and commitment. The cost for each course is $400.

The University of Newcastle reserves the right to withdraw courses from the High Performing Students Program if there is insufficient interest.

Semester one

Globalisation and International Management (BUSN1001)

This course analyses the challenges and opportunities presented by the globalisation of markets and production for managers in both domestic and multinational companies (MNCs). The cultural, political, economic and technological drivers and implications of Globalisation will be presented providing an introduction to basic concepts in global economics and international business. While a key purpose of the course will be to understand how managers design effective strategic business decisions cognizant of cultural, political and economic difference internationally, a critique of the basic paradigm of profit maximising behaviour by MNCs will also be presented through a discussion of strategising with corporate social responsibility.

Digital Practices in Visual Communication and Design (DESN1031)

This course provides an introduction to the core digital competencies and practices required to work effectively as a visual communication designer through supported self-directed student learning. It commences with generic digital design workflow practices, file management protocols, and an understanding of common visual design software principles and builds foundational skills in digital design and content creation.

Object Oriented Programming (SENG1110)

This course is an introduction to object-oriented programming language. The course introduces the fundamentals of analysing a problem and then implementing a solution as a computer software system using an object oriented language. Students learn about problem solving strategies, top-down program development and programming style. The course provides a basic introduction to data abstraction and object-oriented analysis and design. Emphasis is placed on programming and testing.

Foundations of Health and Disease (HUBS1417)

This course gives an integrated introduction to human biosciences: the anatomy and physiology of the major organ systems will be explored together with the pathophysiology of disease. Students will gain exposure to potential future health careers including Medical Radiation Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Nursing and Biomedical Research. The course will be taught in a blended mode that includes face to face instruction in lectures and interactive tutorials/practical exercises, in conjunction with on-line teaching and interaction. The learning outcomes of the course will be assessed in reflective exercises, online mini tests and an end of term exam.

Molecules, Cells and Organisms (BIOL1001)

An introduction to the basic principles and concepts of cell and molecular biology. Students explore the nature of life's molecular building blocks and systems and how these interact to form functional cells and ultimately organisms. Students will discover some of the principles behind how cells work and explore ideas about how biological complexity and life itself may have originated. This knowledge underpins our ability to combat disease, to harness solar energy to feed the world, to sustainably power human industry, and to recycle our waste efficiently using microbial systems.

Semester two

Courses in the High Performing Students Program are offered in semester one only.

  1. If you are a high performing student you may receive advice from someone at your school about available courses, or you can view the 2021 courses on the web site.
  2. Complete an Expression of Interest Form (PDF, 314KB) and nominate courses.
  3. Submit to Merewether High School: your Expression of Interest form, your last school report, a signed letter from your school Principal confirming that your work is of a high calibre and all required documentation as set out in the checklist on page 8 of the Expression of Interest form.
  4. Attend an interview with the Principal or delegate of Merewether High School, a University of Newcastle representative, and the Executive Officer of the program. This interview is formal and you are required to wear school uniform. Sample interview questions might include:
    • Why are you interested in this course?
    • What career expectations do you have?
    • How will you manage the extra time this course requires and maintain the high standards for the School Certificate or the Higher School Certificate?
  5. Present a portfolio or CV representing your learning and interests outside school, and any relevant work experience such as your School to Work log book.
  6. You will be notified by a representative from Merewether High School of the outcome of your Expression of Interest and, if selected, of class details.
  7. If selected, you will be asked by your lecturer at your first class to complete the University's non-award program application. This enables the University to set up your access to e-learning technologies and libraries.
Expression of Interest Forms are due by Monday 8 February 2021

Send your completed form to:

Merewether High School
High Performing Students Program
PO Box 3010
Hamilton DC NSW 2303

Or deliver your form to:

Merewether High School
Chatham Street

Or fax your form to:

Merewether High School
+61 2 4961 2246

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.