Organised chaos: 600 Year 3 students to get a taste of Uni

21 April 2010

Due to the success of a number of smaller-scale introduction or 'taster' events in 2009, the University of Sydney will play host to more than 600 year 3 students from all 12 primary schools involved in the Compass -- find your way to higher education program on 22 April.

It is a day designed to welcome our youngest participants to program and to provide them with real context about university and why they might one day undertake higher education themselves.

Research tells us that from as early as 11 children have clear ideas about themselves as learners and their future education and career. One of the aims of the Compass program is to provide them with opportunities to explore possibilities from early primary school.

Our visiting students will be participating in a wide variety of activities as diverse as the University itself.

After sitting in on the their first ever lecture, students will get forensic over animal poo with the Faculty of Science and study the Tasmanian Devil's food chain; just in time for the footy season they will be learning how to make mouth guards with the Faculty of Dentistry, examining x-rays with the Faculty of Health Science; reading their blood pressure and monitoring their heart rate with the Faculty of Nursing and studying how rules are made with the Faculty of Law.

The Sydney College of the Arts will engage them in sculptures, self-portraits and monster drawing skills.

They'll extract DNA with Faculty of Agriculture staff before examining the skulls of animals with Vet Science.

The Faculty of Arts will introduce them to computer-based historical research.

To top it all off, students will take part in hula hooping and touch footy with university athletes, Sydney University Sports and Fitness staff and students.

Annette Cairnduff, Director Social Inclusion says that while for many students, "it will be their first interaction with a university, it will be the first of many opportunities they will have to engage with the University of Sydney through the Compass program over the course of their schooling."

Students will be accompanied by University of Sydney's Student Ambassadors, who are encouraged to talk with school students about their own journey into higher education, what inspired them, who might have inspired them, what study is really like and what they hope to achieve with their study.

Senior Project Officer with the Compass program Kanina Mackay says "when supported by ongoing interactions, these days have the potential to provide students with a 'light bulb' moment, encouraging them to think more broadly about what their educational future might include ."

Requiring more than 30 individual activities, the Year 3 Introduction to Uni Day is the biggest event on the Compass calendar and would simply not have been possible without the strong support and commitment of a number of faculties and University-based organisations.

We thank all of the faculties involved and in particular a big thank you to Sydney College of Arts, Science, Museums and Sydney Uni Sports and Fitness for providing multiple activities in which our students will be involved and inspired.