Virus kills off gap year plans

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
ECU South West campus dean Lyn Farrell.
Camera IconECU South West campus dean Lyn Farrell. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian, Nic Ellis

For many school leavers, working towards the end of schooling included plans to take a gap year to travel and work overseas before heading back home and enrolling in university.

But COVID-19, border restrictions, and limited flights have meant these students have had to forgo their gap year plans.

As a result, Edith Cowan University South West campus dean Lyn Farrell said the university had had an increased interest in enrolment inquiries. “We usually have a higher percentage of regional students that take a gap year and sometimes don’t come back and enrol in university,” Ms Farrell said.

“I think with COVID-19 we are seeing a change in that pattern and we expect that, particularly regional students, will not take a gap year as they normally do.

“Already we are seeing that students are making the choice to come to university instead of travelling.

“Many of them that did well in Year 11 and are doing well in Year 12 will have been given an early offer and we are experiencing a higher volume of enrolment inquiries this time of year in comparison to last year.”

With all the disruptions students have faced during their schooling this year, Ms Farrell said the South West campus would be running a UniPrep Summer school for the first time this summer.

“UniPrep Summer is an intensive version of our general UniPrep course,” she said.

“It will help prepare students for university and give them entrance to all of the courses we offer here at this campus.

“Normally it isn’t made available for school leavers but we have decided to run a summer school in recognition that some people may have had a disrupted year.

“This will give those students another chance to get into university next year and get them ready to start an undergraduate program in 2021.”

The course will be held at the South West campus from November 30-January 29 with a two-week break over Christmas.

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