It's the first step to accomplishing great things

15 November 2012

Two of our new partner high schools, Liverpool Girls and Moorebank, sent among the biggest Year 7 cohorts we have yet seen for a campus visit in October, both numbering over 120 students. New to the Compass program in 2012, the Year 7 visits provide a platform on which to launch the idea of university as a realistic option for the students. Whilst students may already have some knowledge or experience of tertiary education from their primary school, the Year 7 visits begin to relate this knowledge and understanding directly to the students and their futures. Students are encouraged to see themselves within tertiary study and university environment at an early stage of their high school career because it takes time to work out their goals and consider their different options.

Our aim is that by the end of the day, students will:

  • understand what happens at a university
  • know what is on a university campus, and see it as a community
  • start to consider the opportunities and options available at university
  • see themselves fitting into the university environment

Some of these aims are achieved through lively, fun activities such as campus tour and fencing. Students learn about the University's buildings - who works there, what is produced, and their storied histories - but also are learning about them from student ambassadors currently enrolled at the uni, who share their own 'unofficial' stories about admission, exams, ambitions, and what life on campus is like. Through fencing with the SUSF, the students enjoy a lively experience that tests the precision of their reflexes, but also discover more about a university's emphasis on preserving cultural traditions. (During Moorebank's visit, the University of Sydney Union's Quidditch Society was playing a game on the Front Lawns, which did little to undo the strong belief held by many young visitors that Harry Potter lives in the Quadrangle).

However, despite the injection of fantasy into the day for one of the schools, we think we were successful in encouraging the students to imagine real prospects in higher education, after we asked about future aspirations:

"When I finish school I would like to study zoology and maybe become an author. Who knows what opportunities will pop up in this place."

"It's the first step to accomplishing great things."

You can see photos of the schools' visits in our Media Gallery.

Compass' Year 7 campus visits will conclude this week with a combined visit from Kogarah and Marrickville Intensive English Centres. They will commence again in 2013 with new students.