While the thoughts of most people were on preparations for Easter, a large group of enthusiastic Year 11 and Year 12 students was getting a taste of life at the University of New England.
Around 90 students from eight Mid-North Coast schools visited UNE on Thursday 9 April. They came from Westport High School (Port Macquarie), Port Macquarie High School, Kempsey High School, Wauchope High School, Wingham High School, Bulahdelah Central School, Great Lakes Senior School, and Taree High School.
After experiencing the residential college lifestyle with a night’s stay at Austin College on Wednesday 8 April, the students awoke to a day filled with university activities. UNE’s Kim Ayres, the coordinator of the schools’ visit, said that her aim had been “to show the students the many wonderful opportunities that UNE has on offer”.
The large group was broken into smaller, more personal groups, each with their own UNE tour guide. The students were then taken around the University and were given the opportunity to participate in a program in which staff from each of UNE’s academic Schools gave short talks on their specific disciplines.
“The day really gave the students an overview of the areas of study they might like to consider undertaking in the coming years,” said Bill Timmins, Careers Adviser at Westport High School. “Kim has put together an extremely valuable educational experience for these Year 11 and 12s.”
The students were also able to see UNE’s sporting and study facilities, and were given an idea of the extensive support and social networks available to them.
The day has been deemed a success by staff and students alike. “I was really thankful for all their help,” said Tabitha Francis, a Year 12 student at Westport High School. “It helped a lot of us to make the decision about what we want to do next year.”
UNE is hoping that school visits such as this will become more common, as a way of enabling school students to discover their options and successfully plan for their future.
THE PHOTOGRAPH displayed here shows Kyara Stennett from Wauchope High School absorbing information in a UNE laboratory.