Bridges to Higher Education Bridges to Higher Education

Lauren Hammond

Student at the Australian Catholic University 

I went to Loyola Senior High School in Mount Druitt. I am currently doing a Bachelor in Theology and Global Studies at ACU and I was accepted to the course through the Principal's Recommendation program.

I went through a tough time during year 12, I suffered anxiety and depression for a while, which put me at a disadvantage. I was working hard, but not always seeing the results. When I was told that I had been recommended for this program, of course I said yes! I was very excited and relieved.

What would have kept me from university was my lack of self-confidence and my frame of mind during year 12. I knew I could do it at university, I just lost track on the way. Being nominated for this program gave me this sense that it was achievable and I could see myself getting there, knowing that my teachers believed in me. The program reaffirmed my belief in myself, that I could get into university and I could succeed there.

Coming from my community, sometimes people underestimate our abilities. Having programs like this gives us a boost, and the security and confidence that we are good enough to get into university. Even though the program was only for 15 or so students in my cohort, our peers also saw it as a motivation and affirmation of themselves. It is supporting our community and those of us who have gotten into university through the program are so grateful.

It makes me so proud when I see myself do well and when I see my peers succeed, nothing makes me happier. It is good to show people that, yes we are smart and we can achieve even though our suburb has this reputation.

Tracie Huet - Careers Advisor at Loyola High School

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The Principal's Recommendation program from ACU is for academically capable students who have suffered some form of disadvantage and not been able to achieve the grades they could have achieved. It opens up to them the opportunity of getting into university.

Lauren would not have gotten into university without the Principal's Recommendation program, not because she wasn't capable, in fact she is now doing really well at university, but because she was not able to work as hard as she needed to, which her teachers recognised was beyond her control. I really think for Lauren the recommendation was the turning point in her life!

I have seen students struggling in year 11 and 12 for whatever reasons who are now successfully completing courses, getting distinctions and high distinctions, going on to do masters and PhDs. We are so grateful to the Australian Catholic University for giving our students this opportunity!

Yvonne Matar - Lauren's Friend and Fellow Nominee

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Lauren is my best friend, she is the person that I trust the most, and going to uni together was a dream. I hate to think what would have happened if we had not both been accepted through the Principal's Recommendation program!

Lauren had medical issues during high school including surgery, so she had to miss class and was struggling to catch up even though she is such a hard worker. I think she really deserved the recommendation, it was a huge relief for her.

I have wanted to be a nurse since I was 15, but preparing for HSC was so stressful. I didn't get the right marks, but the program helped me and now I'm studying Nursing at ACU.

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