The road to tertiary study begins with a visit to ACU.
More than 160 parents of primary and high school students recently visited ACU's Strathfield campus as part of the University's participation in the Bridges to Higher Education Program.
Bridges to Higher Education is a unique partnership between five universities including Australian Catholic University, the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Western Sydney and Macquarie University. It aims to boost the participation of under-represented communities in higher education and seeks to engage young people who may not have considered higher education as an option.
In many cases these students will be the first in their families to attend a university. Their visit to ACU was about answering the kinds of questions all parents of future university students have about their children's educational future. Representatives from all five universities presented information sessions to the parents about pathways into university, support services at university and financial costs.
The parents were taken on a tour of the Strathfield campus, where they were shown the visual arts gallery and learnt about the library services from ACU staff. Then it was time for lunch in the sunshine in the courtyard.
ACU recognises the value of parental encouragement and support in broadening their children's life choices. The parent campus visit aimed to raise awareness, inform and generally demystify what contemporary higher education involves, particularly for parents with little or no family experience of universities.
Parents came from 12 schools, both public and Catholic, along with their community liaison officers who are integral in developing relationships with parents and encouraging them to attend such events.
Fatima Amr, community liaison officer, summed up the experience: "It was an informative day, a day where many struggling parents can see a light at the end of the tunnel for their children. The parents felt valued, respected and there is hope for their children."
ACU Equity Pathways Officer, Nicola Cull, who coordinated the event attributed the success of the day to the teamwork and collaboration by the five partner universities and the school communities.
For more information about ACU’s involvement with the Bridges to Higher Education program, contact Nicola Cull.