23 February 2009: Students accepted into Australian Catholic University's (ACU) new Early Achievers' Program attended welcome events around the country this month.
The hugely successful program offered places to students who demonstrated a commitment not only to their studies but to their communities as well - through school, church, sport or a cultural organisation.
Welcome events were held at the University's six campuses nationally – where the chosen students will this year begin their courses in arts, business, nursing, education or youth work.
Jessica McCarthy from St Patrick's College, Campbelltown, will commence a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at the Strathfield Campus this year.
The 18-year-old helped organised McHappy Days at her local McDonalds and worked at a school for disabled children.
"The Early Achievers' Program is a really great opportunity and relieved some of the pressure I felt about getting into university and my Higher School Certificate," she said. "It was nice to know that marks aren't the only thing that this University was looking for in students."
The Campbelltown resident said it had always been her goal to become a primary school teacher.
"I chose ACU because of its reputation as the best facility for education," she said.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said he was delighted to welcome such bright and enthusiastic students to the University.
"The program is the first of its kind in Australia to take into consideration a student's contribution to society as part of the application process," he said. "The response we had was wonderful – with more than 1000 applicants from across Australia."
"Taking into account a student's character is vital to the service and social justice obligations of a Catholic university, and we look forward to watching their progress over the next few years."