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Shanae Andrews entered her University of Southern Queensland (USQ) degree this month with a head start on most of her peers: she had already completed one of her units.

The USQ Head Start graduation ceremony recognised 59 students like Miss Andrews last Monday in Toowoomba. USQ’s Head Start program allows Year 10, 11 and 12 students to study one university unit per semester. These students juggle school and university commitments in a display of scholarly motivation and talent.

Miss Andrews, a St Ursula’s College graduate, completed the USQ commerce subject ‘Accounting for Decision-Making’, which dovetailed with her studies at school. “Commerce was one of my favourite subjects at high school and I’m good with numbers, so it seemed like a good idea to pursue that sort of career,” Miss Andrews said. “USQ Head Start helped my transition from high school to university because I knew what was expected of me, and clarified that this was the right program for me.”

Miss Andrews said she would recommend Head Start to any high school student considering university education. “The support I received was amazing. I often got calls from the SRO (Student Relationship Officer) making sure I was alright and on top of my studies, and if I ever needed any help I could go to the forums or email my lecturer,” she said. “It’s a good way to get a sample of uni life.”

USQ Vice-Chancellor Jan Thomas said that students could learn alongside USQ’s undergraduate students on-campus or online in a wide range of Head Start courses.

“Head Start allows proactive and talented youths to work towards their future while getting a feel for university,” Professor Thomas said.

Completing a Head Start unit guarantees students academic credit points, entry into a USQ course and two Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) points.

Words by Taylah Danae Baggs
Image supplied by USQ