For Springfield Lakes teenager Mackayla Harders, life is about making the most of opportunities.
Therefore, when the St Augustine’s College graduate was offered a second chance at getting into university, she didn’t waste it.
Mackayla, 17, was one of more than 100 school leavers to complete USQ's Accelerated Entry Pathway Program (AEPP) last week.
The free program serves as an alternative pathway to university for Year 12 graduates who want to apply for an undergraduate degree at USQ.
This includes students who didn’t choose an OP pathway but are reconsidering university study, unsure if their OP score will get them into their desired degree program or feel they need more preparation before committing to a degree.
“I didn’t have any ambitions of going to university, because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Mackayla said.
“I’ve had people tell me that I would make a good teacher, but it wasn’t until my final year of high school I started thinking about it.
“Looking at the ways my teachers used different strategies and techniques to enhance learning got me really interested in teaching.
“I think it’s a career you can go anywhere with.”
AEPP is an intensive course that requires students to attend four weeks of classes and workshops at USQ’s Springfield campus over the summer, in addition to online study.
They complete tasks related to academic communication and self-management, including goal setting, time management and planning, engage in career development and planning, and participate in practical activities relevant to beginning university study.
If they achieve high enough marks, they can gain entry into specified USQ undergraduate degrees, provided they meet all other admission requirements.
Mackayla said she found the program challenging, but incredibly rewarding and a great learning experience.
She now plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in education.
“Doing this course was a good chance to get a feel for university life and the challenges of tertiary study before deciding if uni was for me,” she said.
“The one thing that stood out for me was the amount of support I received.
“The lecturers really cared about how you were doing and wanted to see you do well.”
USQ Tertiary Preparation lecturer and AEPP coordinator Tatra Palfery said the program provided school leavers another route to achieve their goals.
“At USQ, we don’t want to see a capable student think that they will never be able to go to university because of their school subject choices,” Ms Palfery said.
“We’re committed to giving students every opportunity to pursue higher education and have all the tools and support they need to reach their potential.
“Our AEPP program builds on what students have learned at school, with a specific focus on developing the skills, knowledge, attributes and confidence required to transition successfully into first year undergraduate study.”
To learn more about the program, visit Accelerated Entry Pathway Program.
Mackayla Harders enjoyed taking part in USQ’s Accelerated Entry Pathway Program.