St John Paull II Catholic College students complete Western Sydney University courses in year 11

Amid the uncertainty of exams, ATARs and career prospects, six Schofields students have the comfort of knowing at least one university is waiting for them.

The senior St John Paul II Catholic College students completed a tertiary subject at Western Sydney University (WSU) alongside the regular demands of their year 11 studies last year.

They have each now been guaranteed a place at WSU after completing their HSC – and two have gone one step further.

Rachel Foong and Rose Zappia earned a four-year $20,000 scholarship after achieving a distinction in their respective courses.

HEAD START: St John Paul II Catholic College student mentor Rasha Fitzsimons with senior students Jeremy Wood, Samantha Poullos, Rachel Foong, Brodie Chidgey, Rose Zappia, Georgia Duncan, and principal Jim Fanning.

HEAD START: St John Paul II Catholic College student mentor Rasha Fitzsimons with senior students Jeremy Wood, Samantha Poullos, Rachel Foong, Brodie Chidgey, Rose Zappia, Georgia Duncan, and principal Jim Fanning.

Rachel, who studied psychology and health, said it was a “really great experience” studying at WSU twice a week.

“There’s a lot of differences to high school, like the campus and the teaching style, and it was good to experience those,” she said.

Rachel is considering studying business, but said the things she learned about human thought and behaviour would be applicable to everyday life and whatever career she settles on.

“It takes a lot of the stress off my HSC. I’m still not certain on which courses I want to do, so having the scholarship opens up a lot of opportunities for me,” she said.

Fellow scholarship recipient Rose studied communication in health, looking at patient interaction in a professional setting.

She said the course was not what she was expecting, but challenging in a positive way.

“It was different to school; it was more open learning really. You had to be there to help yourself. They won’t force you to learn something you don’t want to learn,” she said.

“I don’t really know what I want to do when I go to uni, so I can get into more things now.”

Rose said the experience gave her a taste of university life, especially the way lecturers and tutors interact with students.

“It was more informal, like you’re on the same wavelength,” she said.

WSU has been partnering with the school for over a decade now to offer the elite learning opportunity.

Student mentor Rasha Fitzsimons said it was a “very selective” program involving a written application and references.

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