Uni before HSC for Illawarra students

They haven't even started their final year of high school, but these three girls are already enrolled at the University of Wollongong.

For the past two weeks, Casey Jamieson, Angie Jammal and Holly Kane have given up part of their last summer school holidays to attend lectures, practical classes and tutorials.

They have already completed a quarter of their first semester subject load.

In a UOW-first, they are among 22 high school students from Illawarra schools in low socio-economic areas who have been given the chance to study an arts faculty subject before they complete their Higher School Certificate.

"We're the guinea pigs, but it's been amazing - everyone has been really nice and it's helped us to find out about different university courses as well," Casey, from Illawarra Sports High School, said.

The course is part of the university's In2Uni program, which mentoring and outreach manager Tara Loty said was designed to give a leg-up to students who might not otherwise go on to tertiary study.

"About half the cohort will be the first [person] in their family to study at university," she said.

"They were selected on a variety of different criteria, including academic achievement."

The course will not only help the students when they finally do finish school at the end of this year, but will also give them a boost in the statewide compulsory English topic, Belonging.

"We have listened to all different speakers, some were refugees and they spoke about relating to the Australian culture," Holly, from Warilla High School, said.

"The other academic speakers opened up our ideas about the whole concept of belonging, and it just totally pushed us up that next level so we can compete against the rest of our year."

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