What is Widening Participation and Outreach?

Helping bright students to succeed, regardless of their background

When bright students, regardless of their background, have an opportunity to attend university, our community, our country and the world all benefit.

That’s why our mission is to change the trajectory for young people from backgrounds typically underrepresented in higher education, including students from rural and regional areas, those with a disadvantaged or low socio-economic status and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

We do this through a multifaceted approach aimed at increasing access and participation for underrepresented students that includes:

  • Hosting students on campus at the University of Sydney
  • Working in schools in rural and regional Australia and lower socio-economic areas
  • Running workshops and seminars
  • Hosting education Roadshows in regional areas
  • Partnering with libraries, festivals, community and educational organisations

Making sure disadvantaged students know university is an option

The first challenge we usually face is simply convincing underrepresented students that university is an option. To help them overcome this mental obstacle, we draw on the experience and inspiration of our own staff, many of whom fought and studied hard to attend university themselves.

We also try to make sure that students have the chance to have a taste for university by attending one of our on campus programs. That way they can experience firsthand what their lives would be like at Sydney University and see that it is a place they truly belong. This work relies heavily on the generosity of Sydney University’s academic and faculty staff.

Real world support and engagement

We also know that increasing participation means more than just changing the mindset of a student. We often also have to work with the teachers, families and even the student’s peers to help foster an environment that promotes learning and encourage the student to reach their potential.

We do this through practical engagement with students and their communities,. Including hosting roadshows, learning and mentoring programs and other practical and collaborative methods that help build confidence and understanding.

The result is that a student’s whole world can open up for them, changing their trajectory forever so that both they, and society, are better for it.

To find out more, download the University of Sydney Access and Participation Plan.