Helping kids find their mark

7 April 2014

Make your mark

By Julie Hare | Original story published in The Australian

NON-traditional university students in NSW and ACT will this morning find a new portal to help them negotiate the unfamiliar and often confusing landscape of higher education.

Make Your Mark has been designed as the place to go when people, including parents and mature age students, don't know where to start, said Annette Cairnduff, chairwoman of Bridges to Higher Education, the $21 million equity program behind the website along with the Universities Admission Centre.

"We know that for many families, particularly those with no experience of further education, that sending their child off to higher education can be daunting," Ms Cairnduff said.

"The idea is that it's really accessible and easy to understand and use. It's got information on how to get in to university, what the benefits might be, financial and other types of support that's available."

Ms Cairnduff said all universities in NSW and ACT were involved in the program not just the Bridges partners.

"All the universities have very significant widening participation programs at the moment so the website will be strongly correlated with that. We will also do a big social media campaign over the next couple of weeks to raise awareness."

Bridges program was already delivering on outcomes even though it was just two years old.

A KPMG analysis found there had been over 200,000 contacts with school students in NSW, with 97 per cent of students surveyed indicated it had increased confidence levels in their academic abilities. In addition, 87 per cent said they felt better prepared for university and 81 per cent reported improved motivation to complete Year 12.