UniPrep 2015: high school leavers ready to take on University

27 Feb, 2015
UniPrep participants soak up vital skills during the numeracy and literacy workshops.

It was a busy start to the year for AUT University’s South Campus.

UniPrep, AUT’s new university preparation experience designed to help participants ease into full-time study at University, saw 140 high school leaver students take on the five week challenge in a bid to get match ready for university.

Over the course of January and February, the full-time on-campus experience included workshops focused on career guidance, team-building, numeracy and literacy, outdoor sport, building personal development plans, time management, resilience, and leadership.

AUT Associate Head of the South Campus Development Walter Fraser says the University had a strong desire to mitigate cases where prospective students might feel they are not quite ready for the ‘big leap’ into university, or are unsure of what to expect.

“The time span between finishing school and starting University is the ‘summer of indecision’ for many Year 13 school leavers. So, a tailored approach was needed which would ensure students experienced a smoother transition into their first semester,” explains Fraser.

The first of its kind at AUT, UniPrep has been piloted at the South Campus to start with.

“We are pleased to say it has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the school leavers and their parents alike,” says Fraser.

“UniPrep comes at a particularly crucial time for many of the participating students - they see UniPrep as a way to way to help them decide what they want to do as a career, and even, help them decide if the University pathway is really for them.”

“This experience will equip them with a clear personal development plan, key skills, and career pathway to carry them through their years of undergraduate study with us.”

Benny Abela, who has just completed his Year 13 studies at Papakura High School says five weeks on he now knows exactly what to expect come Semester 1 and can visualise a clear pathway to reach his end goal. He has just finished enrolling into AUT’s Bachelor of Business.

“I want to be a fashion and dance business entrepreuner. UniPrep has been fantastic in showing me how I can achieve exactly that. And I definitely don’t regret giving up five weeks of my summer to come to university early!”

“I’m well into university mode now and feel like I’ve got the right head start I need to complete the three years successfully.”

The implementation of UniPrep has been a concerted effort across a number of teams at AUT University, including tutoring staff.

Jake Humphries, UniPrep Numeracy tutor and AUT Teaching Assistant in the School of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, says it is rewarding to see the transformation in the participants over the five weeks.

“They’ve become individuals who are fully confident in their ability to succeed at University and are becoming increasingly excited about all the opportunities that await them.

A group of 14 AUT student mentors were also available to guide the participants, and provide advice and support from a student perspective throughout the five weeks.

Third year Bachelor of Health Science student, and UniPrep student ambassador Mary-Louise Raela says the experience helped her discover even more about the university she studies at.

“It’s really fully opened my eyes to the various services on offer for students, and it’s been an honour to be able to help these incoming first year students discover the opportunities available at AUT.”

The UniPrep cohort also got to meet and listen to surprise guest motivational guest speaker Tony Christiansen talk about how he conquered challenges that came his way.

The experience was wrapped up at the AUT South Campus orientation where the UniPrep participants delivered a special choir performance led by Igelese Ete, award-winning Samoan composer and Head of Performing Arts at the University of South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.

Check out what the UniPrep particpants, AUT student ambassadors and tutors have to say about the UniPrep 2015 experience here.