LEAP - Rural Students University Experience

LEAP - Rural Students University Experience

LEAP - Rural Students University Experience


smiling student 

Funded under the Australian Government’s Higher Education Participation Program (HEPPP), the LEAP Rural Students University Experience program aims to "demystify" campus life by familiarising students with the learning environment that the university offers. Since 2010, this experience has been running successfully to bring students and teachers from NSW regional and remote schools to spend a day on the Macquarie University North Ryde Campus, and become involved in interactive and informative sessions. However, as it can sometimes be difficult for students in these areas to attend our Campus Experience days, a new approach was taken in 2016 with Country Education Foundation (CEF) connected schools to continue providing the opportunity of engagement with campus life through Virtual Experience.

Through the use of Video Conferencing and Adobe Connect, the LEAP-Links team hosted a Q & A panel with almost 100 students from regional schools in NSW, who were able to connect directly in real-time with our panel members, who were made up of current Macquarie University staff and students. The secondary students who participated on this day were particularly thankful for the occasion to hear from tertiary students about their own experience of university, including moving away from home and living on campus to study.

Workbooks were also created to try and simulate some of the previous experiences secondary students would have had on campus, including games to provide information about the campus, and introducing university jargon. These workbooks were sent out to schools along with some more information about higher education, accommodation, LEAP merchandise, evaluation sheets, and a reply paid pre-addressed envelope. These workbooks were sent out a week prior to the video conference so that students could think about questions they wanted to ask the Q & A panel.

‘The decision to study at university is a big step for any student, but when that decision also involves possibly relocating away from home, the prospect can be daunting,’ said Ruth Tregale, Director of Widening Participation Unit. Therefore, this experience is a valuable occasion for many students to engage and learn about campus life, and the financial and relocation support networks that are available for them.

The participating schools included:

  • Camden Haven High School
  • Coonamble High School
  • Merriwa Central School
  • Balranald Central School
  • Murrumburrah High School
  • Mount St Benedict College

Our panel speakers included:

  • Hannah Vogel - Dunmore Lang College Student
  • Shannon Collis - Dunmore Lang College Student
  • Taylah Pearce - Indigenous Outreach Officer, Walanga Muru
  • Johnathon Hookey - Walanga Muru Student Mentor
  • Vivienne Latham - Senior Coursework Scholarships and Prizes Officer

Here’s what some of the students had to say about their Virtual Experience day:

‘I learnt that there is a lot more to university, other than the learning side of it.’

‘I learnt about the different sports offered and what types of scholarships are offered and how to apply for one.’

‘I learnt that there are many social events so uni isn't all about study. There are many support and scholarship opportunities for rural students.’

The LEAP – Links team are no strangers to connecting with schools from regional and remote NSW via Video Conferencing. The LEAP – Links Virtual Classrooms program runs STEM and other subject area masterclasses hosted by Academics from Macquarie University. Upcoming Video Conference masterclasses can be found via DART Connections or you can check out our YouTube page for Virtual Classroom here.

Contact us

Schools Engagement Team
T: +61 2 9850 7324
E: leaplinks@mq.edu.au

Back to the top of this page