More than 10,000 prospective undergraduate students have been offered a place to study at the University of Sydney in 2016, including 348 students as part of the new Dux Scheme.
This includes more than 6,000 places announced at 6pm on Wednesday 20 January, as well as over 4,000 offers made in earlier rounds.
Once again, law was one of the most in-demand courses. Other popular courses included agriculture – which saw the strongest demand in recent years – as well as veterinary science and professional allied health (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, diagnostic radiography and speech therapy).
For the first time, 348 students were offered guaranteed entry to the University of Sydney through the new Dux Scheme.
Open to all NSW schools, places are awarded under this scheme to school duxes on the basis of academic merit and a principal’s nomination from their school.
School leaver Mitch Lavelle from Casino High School in northern NSW has been offered a guaranteed place to study a Bachelor of Engineering Honours (Flexible First Year) through the initiative.
"It really is a life-changer to have a scheme that encourages academic performance but at the same time rewards those kids that didn’t have the opportunities that other kids might have had," he said.
Topping his year with an ATAR of 82.25, Mitch has overcome great obstacles, including a battle with Leukemia at age nine, to follow his dreams of studying mechanical and aerospace engineering.
"I think that's where I got most of my drive from – you only get one shot to make the most of your life. If my experiences with Camp Quality have taught me anything, it's that you never leave any rock unturned. If you have a dream you follow it and you go at it with all your heart and determination."
"While an ATAR is a very important indicator, it is not the only measure of a student's potential," said Professor Tyrone Carlin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Registrar) at the University of Sydney.
"We know unequivocally that many students who arrive at the University of Sydney through alternative entry go on to excel academically.
"School Duxes represent more than just a grade – they are leaders in their school communities. We're thrilled to provide a space for these leaders to flourish and thrive, regardless of their background or circumstances."
This year also saw the largest number of E12 early offers to the University of Sydney in the scheme's history, up 10 per cent in 2016.
With close to 300 schools across NSW putting forward applications for E12 in 2015, alternative entry offers have grown by more than 300 per cent since E12 was first established in 2012.
The E12 scheme gives students facing financial disadvantage an early conditional offer at the University of Sydney, a $5000 first-year scholarship, an iPad and continued support throughout their studies.
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