Four Te Puke High School students have been given an early taste of university life.
Adam Williams, Josiah Hungerford, Nick Barr and Braeden Walker signed up for Unistart - an initiative that allows secondary school students to complete a university paper with the University of Waikato.
The school’s head of careers, Sonya Burggraaf, says the four students are good at digital technology.
“Unfortunately the subject didn’t go ahead at our school this year,” she says.
Turning that into a positive, they enrolled in the Unistart programme, taking a computer science paper focusing on coding.
“They now understand everything involved in what it is like to be a university student, how the paper works, how the presentation of assignments and handing in on Moodle works, the whole system around universities. They learned well and they had fantastic results.”
Adam says the 12-week experience opened his eyes.
“[It gave me an insight] into what kind of level you will be going in at and maybe the prerequisites and what learning you start at to build up from. That was the good part that I got out of it - knowing where it starts.”
The experience also confirmed his desire to go into mechatronic engineering - working with robotics.
“It’s a huge upcoming industry within kiwifruit and all around the world, it has huge applicability and not only that, it suits me working outdoors but also the coding and theory work behind it.”
Josiah says the course was a good basic course for people who knew nothing about coding.
“I wasn’t very good at coding before, but now I know how to do some. It was interesting and fun.”
Nick says the course was a good introduction to computer science.
“It gave me some basic skills and knowledge in the area and helped me decide on whether university would be right for me and if I did go to university whether I would go into computer science.
“I decided I probably wouldn’t, but it was interesting and I enjoyed it, but I don’t think I would be able to do it as a job.
“It was interesting to see how the university worked. It made me want to go there actually and now I’m thinking of civil engineering.”
Sonya says the students also learned that missing things can have a big impact on grades.
“So there was lots of learning and it extended them as well and helped with their pathways and where they want to go.
“The other thing for them too was it’s also free but it counts towards their degree and they can cross-credit to other courses.
“It’s something we will do again for sure. "
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