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Early offer scheme welcomes first cohort of promising students


4 January 2013

Bryony Williamson has loved to draw since she first picked up a pen, but it wasn't always clear that her love of cartooning would carry her to university.

However, thanks to her passion, skills and achievements, Bryony will join the University of Sydney to study a Bachelor of Visual Arts as part of the University's first Early Offer Year 12 Scheme (E12) cohort.

Announced by the University in 2012 to assist students who have been financially disadvantaged during their time at school, the scheme enables school principals to nominate up to 10 students they believe show the potential to succeed at the University of Sydney. The principals' recommendations are then considered by a select panel from the University, which may also interview applicants for some courses.

"I'm from Goulburn, I grew up in a small country town as one of the only cartoonists, so to come to Sydney and see how there are other people interested in what I am, it's quite eye-opening," says Bryony, who finished year 12 last year at Trinity Catholic College Goulburn.

"Our careers counsellor at school let me know about E12 so I thought why not? Moving away from home is very nerve-wracking but also really exciting."

Carrie-anne Hourigan, who studied at Moorebank High School, will be the first in her immediate family to attend university.

Enrolling in a Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy), Carrie-anne is passionate about one day working in paediatrics, inspired by the caring nature of her grandmother, who has had to care for a sick husband and a family member with Down Syndrome.

"I'm so proud I could burst," says Carrie-anne's grandmother, Irene Hourigan. "At times we were all stressed but it paid off."

E12 student Carrie-anne Hourigan was inspired to pursue a career in paediatrics by her grandmother
E12 student Carrie-anne Hourigan was inspired to pursue a career in paediatrics by her grandmother

Under the E12 scheme, students will receive financial assistance as well as additional support throughout the application and orientation process and into their first year at the University.

Students who are given an early conditional offer under the scheme have a place reserved just for them at the University of Sydney. Provided they meet the special ATAR cut-offs and subject bands for their preferred course, these students are given an offer in the early January round.

The benefits of the E12 scheme include:

  • an early conditional offer to the University of Sydney before final HSC exams start
  • specific ATAR cut-offs for successful candidates and a UAC offer in the early January round
  • a $5000 first-year scholarship
  • support through the transition from school to university, including a guided enrolment process, orientation, mentoring and additional assistance
  • an iPad to assist with studies
  • a University of Sydney Union Access card that gives discounts on and off campus with major retailers, and access to more than 200 clubs and societies.

"The University of Sydney was the first university in the world to admit students on the basis of merit alone and that's a tradition we're incredibly proud of," said Provost and acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Garton at an event to welcome the inaugural cohort of successful E12 students on Thursday.

"The core mission of this university is to find the most promising students and bring them together with the best researchers to realise their full potential. Through these means our aim is to harness our most precious resources - our students and staff - for the public good."

"Schemes like E12 are an exciting and innovative way in which we can identify those students with the potential to contribute to the future. Our aspiration is not to just to give someone a useful credential but to also educate them to make a difference in the years to come. We very much welcome these students into our university," Professor Garton said.

Current Master of Commerce student and Canterbury Bulldogs back rower Corey Payne also attended the welcome event, encouraging students to make the most of everything university life has to offer.

Also a University of Sydney Bachelor of Commerce graduate, Corey acts as a role model for young people who might not otherwise consider higher education. Through his Future Directions Network, he helps provide financial support, mentoring and careers advice for young people who might otherwise rule out university

According to Annette Cairnduff, Director of Social Inclusion at the University, successful students come from all walks of life and educational circumstances.

"Our E12 scheme is an exciting step forward because it allows us to consider a student's whole set of circumstances, rather than just their final school results," she says.

"Our impressive group of E12 students for 2013 have shown motivation and success in their studies, interest and engagement in particular areas of study, leadership, and other skills and achievements that will support them throughout their time at the University of Sydney and beyond."

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Media enquiries: Katie Szittner, 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809, katie.szittner@sydney.edu.au