Program opens minds to university study

November 11, 2016

Murdoch University provides non-ATAR students with new learning opportunities.An innovative program has opened doors into university for another group of high school students who had never contemplated tertiary study.

Around 85 Year 12 students from the Rockingham and Mandurah region recently completed ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ a program run by Murdoch University to help students who are not enrolled in ATAR subjects to contemplate university study.

Dr Peter Geerlings from Murdoch University’s Centre for University Teaching and Learning said the program was the first of its kind in Australia and has been successfully running for several years.

Murdoch University developed the enabling program in partnership with 24 schools between Anketell and Pinjarra to provide a pathway to Murdoch University for capable, non-ATAR Year 12 students.

“For various reasons, a proportion of Year 12 students in these regions have not been able to generate an ATAR so cannot access university-level education via the traditional pathway for school-leavers,” Dr Geerlings said.

“The strength of this program is that it not only works to retain secondary students in education, but also builds self-confidence, aspirations for higher education, and provides an authentic experience of university education.”

Over 26-weeks, students were introduced to topics and problems that might challenge their social and political views.

“We push the students to think critically and engage with questions raised by social problems with the aim of stretching students beyond their normal cognitive reach,” Dr Geerlings said.

“At the same time we help them to develop university study skills such as researching and referencing.

Students who successfully completed this unit were able to apply for entry to Murdoch University undergraduate courses that require an ATAR of 70.

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Media contact: Pepita Smyth
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