Student is spoiled for university choices

Early notification: Elleina Suarez, 12th grade student, at St Augstine’s College last week. She is in the unique position of having been offered two university positions before taking her VCE final exams.

Not so long ago, Year 12 pupils would lean over the fence in their front gardens, snuggle up next to the mailbox and await the delivery of the envelope containing the results of their Victorian school year.

These days, 17 and 18-year-olds are constantly clicking the refresh button on their computer, phone or tablet to find out what Australian Tertiary Admission Rank they have received – and to plan where to continue their university education.

For a student at St. Augustine’s College there will be no such rush as she has already received two offers from higher education institutions several weeks before her final exams.

Elleina Suarez is in a fortunate if hard-earned position, having been offered two university positions before the end of her third semester.

The 17 year old has an interesting story as she grew up in the Philippines before moving to Sweden when her mother met her Australian husband and finally arriving in Australia seven years ago.

“I’ve always been someone who jumped at every opportunity, so I jumped at the chance to apply for early admission.

Elleina has received offers from Charles Sturt and Swinburne, where she applied for a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Charles Sturt included Elleina’s 11th grade results in the calculation and also required answers to several “soft skills” questions asking about her resilience and community involvement.

“Swinburne had his own set of questions. I was offered a dual degree there — a Bachelor of Physiological Sciences and a Bachelor of Criminal Justice and Criminology,” she said.

Elleina, who leaves nothing to chance, is in the process of completing a university accelerator as one of her six VCE subjects – in Psychology – giving her more credits in that subject.

Her ultimate goal is to become a forensic psychologist.

“I’ve always been very interested in helping other people in the community, and lately I’ve become very fascinated with the justice system,” she said.

Elleina is among a very small group of students who were offered early positions at universities.

But she’s not done yet.

“By the end of the year I would like to receive a few more offers. I’m also applying for ACU,” she said, explaining that her number one goal is to put as many irons on the fire as possible.

Elleina spoke just days after passing the General Achievement Test (GAT), which assesses ability in math, science, technology, arts and humanities.

It measures the results of 12th graders — and 11th graders who complete a VCE subject — against national standards.

It was Elleina’s second GAT exam as she took the exam last year as a 11th grade student.

50 St. Augustine students took the GAT, which took the form of a two-part/three-hour exam with 100 multiple-choice literacy questions and a half-hour writing assignment—followed by a second writing assignment and 50 multiple-choice items General knowledge questions.

Elleina is considering using 2023 as a GAP year despite offers coming in well ahead of schedule, but there will be no international backpacking or fast food jobs to fill the 12 months.

“I’m considering doing a TAFE course in mental health for the year,” she said.

As for her ATAR score, she said anything above 85 is acceptable.

She will be given tours of her future campus in the coming months.

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