The orientation week induction for the Young Achievers Program (YAP) is the moment a group of young adults come together to realise their dream of attending university — and the excitement in the room is palpable.
While the induction is always a time of hope and youthful enthusiasm,it was even greater this year thanks to the generosity of donors. In late 2018, $25,000 from the Area of Greatest Need fund was allocated to the YAP, and was used to provide textbooks for incoming students.
UQ Young Achievers and Outreach Programs Manager, Matt Hoskins, said the program is a lifeline for aspiring university students who have faced hardship, particularly those who live in rural areas, who have additional financial and geographical barriers in attending university.
“We do everything to offer support and encouragement for students, but the toughest period is always the first six-weeks,” he said.
The YAP is an academic scholarship, and can only be administered after the census date in week six, meaning program participants still bear the brunt of the upfront costs of study, including textbooks and equipment.
“We’ve been looking at ways to decrease this burden so they can focus on succeeding,” Mr Hoskins said.
“Thanks to generous donor and government support, we’ve been able to provide incoming 2019 UQ students, who take part in the Young Achievers Program, with a laptop and a textbook voucher during orientation.
“This equipment allows students to start the semester off with the resources they need and helps prevent them falling behind.”
Young Achievers Scholarship recipient and first year engineering student Anna Dallmann (pictured, right) said the equipment made a real difference for her.
“I have been really stressed about how I would perform before the full scholarship instalment kicked in,” she said.
“Textbooks are expensive and my laptop is so old I worried it wouldn’t be able to run the programs required for engineering courses.
“This generous gift has really made such a difference.
“It was such a wonderful surprise — I cannot thank the donors enough, this means so much to me and to the others.”
The Young Achievers Program provides holistic support for school leavers that includes mentoring, network and financial support for students.
The program aims to provide all students, regardless of background, with the opportunity to access higher education at a university of their choice.
Main image: Young Achievers Program participants from years 11-12 during a UQ-hosted camp.