UWS provides pathways to success for Indigenous students
The University of Western Sydney welcomes the large number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students commencing in 2015, including those who made the journey to higher education through the Pathways To Dreaming program.
The UWS Pathways To Dreaming Program is an Indigenous School Student Mentoring Program engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students in the Western and South Western Sydney regions. The program aims to support students throughout their high school education and into higher education, as well as those who pursue other post-school studies or employment.
Beginning in 2010 with 16 Aboriginal students from two schools, the Pathways To Dreaming program has grown to include over 500 participants from 20 schools. Participants join the program in year 8, and attend a series of on-campus visits and activities to build their academic and study skills, along with their awareness of further education and career options. Students explore the university environment during visits to UWS, thereby increasing their knowledge and understanding of study at UWS. They also enhance their cultural knowledge as part of the program.
UWS student mentors are a large part of the program, and build strong relationships with participants. Mentors attend regular in-school mentoring sessions and provide assistance and guidance during on campus visits. A large number of mentors are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students themselves, including past participants of Pathways To Dreaming now taking the opportunity to provide the same support to high school students they experienced themselves.
In 2014 there were 61 year 12 students in the program, with the majority of them gaining their HSC. A total of 17 students - nearly 28% - received offers to UWS and UWSCollege. Sixteen are now enrolled, with the seventeenth undertaking post-school study elsewhere. And at least another two have commenced at other universities taking the overall percentage of recent Pathways To Dreaming graduates pursuing higher education to 31%. Students entered UWS degrees in a range of areas from Sports and Health Sciences to Nursing, Teaching, Policing, Law and Business.
The program is contributing to closing the gap on educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.The UWS Pathways To Dreaming Program is making a difference to the way young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students think about themselves and their futures.
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