Jessica – studying Engineering/Commerce


Hi! My name is Jessica and during high school I found it difficult to cope because of financial hardship and health problems. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it into the course I wanted and I wasn’t even completely sure what I would like to study at university. Read more about how I got to Sydney Uni.

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Q&A with Jessica

How did you get to Sydney Uni?
I knew that the University of Sydney has a great reputation and I fell in love with the campus, which has so much history and culture around it. Following my application through the University of Admissions Centre (UAC), I was fortunate enough to be a successful applicant of the Broadway Scheme, which is for students who have experienced long-term educational disadvantage.

What sort of financial assistance do you receive from Centrelink?
I receive youth allowance and a student start-up scholarship at the beginning of each year as well as a one-off relocation scholarship. Centrelink has helped me a lot financially especially because I moved out of home early and find it difficult to support myself while studying fulltime. It goes to show that you certainly do not have to be rich to attend university and that there is financial support should you need it.

What do you like or dislike about Sydney Uni?
I like that Sydney Uni offers so much opportunity in areas of study but is also supportive of physical wellbeing. The University is supportive and allows for flexibility in that it allows you to pick subjects within degrees to suit you. There are great facilities and sporting ovals to encourage fitness. I also love the very unique culture that has been created by the diverse range of people that form Sydney Uni’s community.

Would you rather have cold showers for the rest of your life or never eat chocolate again, and why?
I would rather have cold showers for the rest of my life. Only chocolate provides those much needed endorphins!

Any tips for getting through the HSC?
Study subjects that you enjoy and make sure you give yourself time out. Study hard but also exercise and make sure you keep active. Look after your mind and your body!

My path to Sydney Uni

Growing up, my mother would always tell me how lucky I am to have the opportunity to study because when she was small she wasn’t given that opportunity; girls weren’t allowed to study. In fact, because she wanted to continue studying she very courageously left home and travelled to England where she studied nursing. She always emphasised that even though she couldn’t give me money, she wanted to be able to give me knowledge which no one would ever be able to take away from me. She inspired me with her story.

I did well during primary school and made it into the selective school, St George Girls High School where I was encouraged by teachers and peers to go to university. However I struggled financially as I moved out of home very early, at the age of sixteen and had health problems due to severe eczema (skin problems). This really lowered my confidence with my chances of making it into university. I had some idea that I really liked being practical with my hands and problem solving. I also had an interest in sciences and a background in the health industry with my mum as a registered nurse. When I looked through the degrees that universities offered, I thought that studying commerce might give me some practical and useful life skills to deal with finances. So I set my sights on a double degree of biomedical engineering and commerce.

One of the teachers asked me if I had applied for the Broadway Scheme which falls under the Educational Access Scheme which is run by UAC. I went home and downloaded a copy of the application form. I took it to all the relevant people including a councillor and a doctor as well as the principal who wrote supporting statements and then submitted it. It turns out I was successful and I made it into my first choice at the University of Sydney.

It is so vital that you are aware that there is so much help and support around you throughout high school and from the university too. This support has helped me focus on my studies more and enjoy life at university. I’m so glad that I study at the University of Sydney, not only for the support but the diverse range of people and great culture that surrounds me.