ACCESS ALL AREAS: Richmond River High School student Calliope Margetts-Graham, left, and Jessica Lancaster, from Lismore High School, have taken advantage of the Southern Cross University Access Program.
ACCESS ALL AREAS: Richmond River High School student Calliope Margetts-Graham, left, and Jessica Lancaster, from Lismore High School, have taken advantage of the Southern Cross University Access Program. Cathy Adams

SCU opens the door to teenagers

HIGH school students Jessica Lancaster and Calliope Margetts-Graham are among the first in the region to take part in a new program aimed at providing teenagers with an alternative pathway into university.

The Southern Cross University Access Program gives years 11 and 12 students the chance to experience uni life and gain entry to a range of associate degrees on successful completion of the course.

For Lismore High School student Jessica, the program is about getting to understand university life.

"I just thought it would be a good opportunity to get the hang of uni and understand it," she said.

The Year 11 student said it was also about trying to decide between pursuing a career in teaching or nursing.

"I have the choice between the two so I'm hoping this course will help me decide which one I would be better suited to," she said.

For Richmond River High School student Calliope, the Access Program is a second shot at a university degree.

"I thought this would be a good opportunity to get into uni even if I don't do well at school," she said.

The Year 12 student said she hoped to pursue a career in either mental health work or the arts.

Access project officer Caitlin Burcher said the program was aimed at students who were academically capable but for a variety of reasons had disengaged from the thought of attending university.

"We ran this program last year on the Gold Coast as a pilot and we found that students who were successful really seemed to turn themselves around, learnt good study habits and engaged with the staff and met new friends," she said.

"They've grown in confidence, learnt the timelines, learnt how to write academically and they've learnt how to ask questions of different people."

The Access Program is now available to Richmond River, Lismore and Kadina high school students.

 

At a glance

This week Access Program students took part in a Get Focused session aimed at showing participants what careers are out there and how they can progress. The session featured a guest industry panel who were able to share with students their experiences with study, past careers and experiences.



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