Swinburne University of Technology is offering hundreds of driven high-school students the certainty of ATAR-free entry into university with the 2022 Swinburne Early Entry Program.
Launched last year, the program is expanding on its success to include Swinburne Professional degrees, which provide a full year of paid work experience before graduation. This brings the list of eligible courses to 41 across science, technology, engineering, arts, media and more.
The program will give much needed certainty to ambitious high school students whose studies have continued to be disrupted by COVID-19 lockdowns.
According to a recent Swinburne survey of these so-called ‘Lockdown Learners’, 47 per cent of Year 12 and first year university students in Victoria say COVID-19 has had an impact on their desire to enrol in University this year. Students cite doubt over getting the marks they need as a key driver of this uncertainty.
Swinburne’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, Professor Chris Pilgrim, says the program will help motivated learners focus on their future and relieve some of the stress of exams.
‘Swinburne’s goal is to become the prototype for a new and different university that is truly of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. As part of this, we’re offering a unique way for driven students to secure a place at Swinburne and access our work-integrated learning opportunities.’
‘The Swinburne Early Entry Program is designed to give students with fresh perspectives and committed mindsets the opportunity to take their next step.’
Students complete a short ‘next gen_now’ questionnaire as part of the application, which asks how they want to make an impact and how they see people and technology working together to create a better world. Schools are also asked for a recommendation and students must achieve an English study score above 25.
Feedback for the Early Entry Program was overwhelmingly positive in 2020, with students noting that the conditional offer for Swinburne gave them confidence going into their exams.
Security amongst uncertainty
Swinburne Bachelor of Engineering student Anna To, who received a conditional offer as part of last year’s Early Entry Program, says that the program allowed her to focus on doing her best, rather than worrying about a number.
‘It was a big relief,’ she says. ‘With the offer, I had a safety net. It made me a lot more confident and helped with all the anxiety I felt about exams and getting into uni.’
In a year overshadowed by COVID, which not only made studying more challenging, but had also ripped away major celebrations like formals and graduations, Anna To says that the Swinburne Early Entry program helped her focus on doing her best, rather than stressing about her final ATAR.
With a conditional offer in her back pocket, To says that her final results become more personal for her. In the end, she was pleasantly surprised by her result and was awarded a Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship.
To’s passion for problem-solving and helping others led her to engineering. She says that her first year at university has been a welcoming experience.
‘I really like it. It’s not as full-on as I expected, everyone has been very accommodating and it's easy to get help from people.’
In a male-dominated field, To is used to being one of the only women in her classes. ‘It’s not a new experience for me. But lots of people are very interested and open to conversation which is really helpful.’
She’d recommend all students apply for the Early Entry Program. ‘You never lose anything by applying,’ she says.