The Compass program – inspiring a love for learning

Year 7 boys take part in CompassThroughout June, Compass held its first Explore Uni days with Year 7 students from Fairfield, Bass and Kogarah High Schools. Across three days, more than 300 high schoolers were guided around the campus.

Students met with faculty and professional staff, and learned about many different fields of work, such as curating rare book collections, training the body and mind using music, preserving historical antiquities, and presiding over a moot court.

Many of our Campaign donors have chosen to support the Compass program because they want to inspire an interest in lifelong learning from a young age.

Some young people already have a good idea of what they want to do. For others, the concept of a career is still a hazy blur. By visiting our campus, trying out a range of disciplines, and talking to staff, high school students can see how the University of Sydney can help them reach their full potential. The Explore Uni activities engage students, providing a reference point and personal experience to draw upon when they think about the next step in their education.

The Explore Uni initiative aims to make higher education more familiar within the school culture. Research indicates that an ongoing program of university-based activities is an effective way to increase uptake of higher education. The Compass ‘campus-connected’ program reaches out to students from Year 7 to Year 12.

In 2013, Compass is enjoying the benefits of strengthened relationships with faculties and departments across the University. The Sydney Conservatorium of Music extended its participation from Year 3 Day to Year 7 Day with the ‘World of Music Through Voice’ workshop (with other social inclusion projects coming as part of the 2012 Widening Participation grants program). The combination of physical and mental challenges was the ideal fit for curious and energetic Year 7 students, who surprised themselves with the quality of the songs they sang in the Great Hall.

The Fisher Library ran a Rare Books and Special Collections activity, giving students the chance to examine and touch 16th century Latin manuscripts and rare editions of the Koran. The students were fascinated by the animal hide parchment of the ancient books and some were able to show off their Arabic language skills. The fencing demonstration presented by Maestro Scherma, Angelo Santangelo of Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness also proved very popular.

Each school was greeted by a group of student ambassadors from the University who escorted the groups to activities and joined them for lunch. The ambassadors were able to share their own stories and give a personal perspective on life as a uni student.

The University will welcome nine more Year 7 groups at the end of the year. To find out more about the Compass program and how you can support it, please contact the Sydney Development Fund.