The University of Tasmania has launched the Schools Recommendation Program for 2022, saying it had the capacity to make a real difference for Tasmania.
Under the Program, students in Year 12 can apply for courses from Monday, 31 May 2021 and receive an offer in July, removing the stress and anxiety associated with finishing their final year and enabling them to focus on getting the most from the year.
Last year, 2,300 students accepted offers through the Program, including almost 700 from the mainland.
University of Tasmania Pro Vice-Chancellor (Launceston) Professor Dom Geraghty said offers were made to students based on Year 11 results and the recommendation of the people who know their capabilities best: their teachers.
“The doors to higher education shouldn’t be something you unlock with test scores, they should be open wide for students who are prepared for the next step in their education, and no one knows that better than a students’ teachers,” Professor Geraghty said.
“Working with schools in this way has demystified what it takes to get into university. Last year we saw students who previously hadn’t considered university realising that it was there for them too.
“It’s exciting to see so many more Tasmanians taking the opportunity to pursue the higher education that will help get them good jobs and set them up for life. It’s good for them and it’s good for our community.”
The program was introduced in response to the disruption caused by COVID-19, including periods spent studying online from home, which placed unprecedented pressure on Year 12s and their families.
Lauren Spencer, from Launceston, has wanted to be a teacher since year 10 and is currently in her first year of a Bachelor of Education (Primary) at the University of Tasmania. She applied for the course and was accepted through the Schools Recommendation Program during her last year at Newstead College.
“I found it really helpful, particularly with the stress of exams and dealing with the impacts of the coronavirus,” she said.
“It was reassuring to know that I had a place at UTAS and I could focus on school.
“I’m someone who finds exams really stressful; I worry that I might crumble. I still had to deal with that, but it was a relief to know that university wasn’t hanging in the balance.”
Under the Program, once a student applies, principals and schools will provide the University with a recommendation and Year 11 results. First round offers will be made as early as July with further rounds continuing throughout the year.
“The Program is built around our research about what it takes to be prepared for university, which is not just academic performance alone,” Professor Geraghty said.
“Working with schools and teachers to understand what a student is capable of means we can find a pathway to tertiary education for any student who completes year 12 and wants to come to university.
“This approach is reducing the stress of the last year of high school and it is increasing access to University – it has the potential to positively change the Tasmanian educational landscape for ever.”
For more information about the Schools Recommendation Program, visit https://www.utas.edu.au/study/schools-recommendation-program
Image: Minister for Education Sarah Courtney, Lauren Spencer and Professor Dom Geraghty at Newstead College for the launch of the Schools Recommendation Program.