Indigenous students from around Australia get a taste of ANU

16 January 2015

Indigenous students from around the country have come to Canberra to find out firsthand what it is like to be a university student.

A group of year 11 and 12 students visited ANU this week from New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The visit was part in the first national camp for The Aspiration Initiative (TAI), academic enrichment program for Indigenous high school students, run by the Aurora Project.

 “Their day on campus provided the students with the opportunity to access ANU as a student and to explore choices and supports available to them,” Julie Harrison, Manager, ANU Access and Inclusion.

Sarah Loynes a Gamalaroi and Yularoi girl has just moved to Canberra to complete her final year of school. She is yet to decide her career path but right now she’s interested in studying anthropology.

 “We’ve been able to look through the arts and humanities buildings and look at some of the work that the anthropologists have done which is really exciting and interesting,” Sarah said.

“Being involved in TAI it has cemented how much I want to go to university and now I am equipped with the knowledge of how to get there and what I need to do.”

Year 12 student Jackson Gray, a Wiradjuri boy from Picton High School, South West of Sydney, wants to keep his options open.

“A lot of people know what they want to go on and do when they finish school. It is really important that I start considering my choices because it is a lot closer than I’d like to think,” Jackson said.

TAI NSW State Coordinator, Michelle Bishop, said TAI'S 5 ½ year program strengthens academic skills, builds resilience and raises aspirations of the participants.

Ms Bishop said research showed that nationally only three in every 100 Year 8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will be eligible for university by the time they reach year 12.

“The students involved in TAI are all high achieving students that want to break every stereo type that is operating out there and finish high school and be eligible for university on their own marks,” Ms Bishop said.

 TAI works with 90 Year 8 students for 5 ½ years, providing intensive and ongoing education support through academic camps, tutoring, mentoring, work experience opportunities and other academic resources, from Year 8 until the end of their first year out of school.