Taking the LEAP from country to campus

Earlier this month more than 60 students and teachers from regional NSW high schools made the trek to Macquarie to experience university life for just one day, and discover the excitement and benefits of pursuing higher education.

Their visit formed part of the annual Rural Students University Experience Program, a three-day trip to Sydney run in conjunction with the Country Education Foundation.

“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, Widening Participation Unit.

Macquarie, as part of its LEAP (Learning, Education, Aspiration and Participation) program, welcomed the students on campus to demystify the concept of attending university.

Ruth says many of the students from Balranald, Boorawa, Bombala, Camden Haven, Merriwa, Narrabri, West Wyalong, Murrumburrah and Coonamble had never experienced a university campus before and admitted the day changed their perceptions of university for the better.

The day involved interactive and informative sessions which included history, science and psychology workshops, and a hip-hop dance class.

“These activities were broken up with a campus tour as well as visits to both Dunmore Lang and Robert Menzies colleges, via the new University Avenue pathway, where students experienced dorm life and heard from current students about support options,” said Ruth.

Country Education Foundation of Australia CEO Sarah Taylor says Macquarie has opened the eyes and minds of hundreds of rural students through its continued support of the Foundation.

“The difference it makes to these kids is incredible,” she said. “For many it’s the turning point and a realisation there are opportunities out there they either hadn’t considered, or hadn’t considered possible. On behalf of the kids, their teachers, parents, schools and communities I wish to thank the staff and students of Macquarie for making this possible.”