For Ripley Hillman and Nick Gaylor, receiving an offer to study at Federation University in 2019 means they can follow their dreams for higher education while staying in their home town.
Mr Hillman, a former Ballarat Grammar student, was excited to open an email on Wednesday morning saying he had received an offer for his first university preference – to study IT professional practice at Federation University.
He said he had known IT was a pathway he wanted to follow for the past five years, and practical hands-on work in a year 12 class helped finalise his decision.
He built a series of games and programs designed for people with physical disabilities and limited movement due to injuries.
Former St Patrick’s College student Nick Gaylor will accept an offer to study sports and exercise science at Federation University’s Mount Helen campus, which is set to open a new ‘state of the art’ sports and exercise science facility in June.
Mr Gaylor said he was excited to be a part of the first year of students to study at the new centre.
Federation University’s sports and exercise science program is ranked in the top 150 sports and exercise programs in the world on the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments 2018.
The creative offerings at Federation University proved popular for some former Ballarat students.
Former Damascus College student Ruby Hyatt was offered a place in the university’s Bachelor of Contemporary Visual Arts course.
She said she was excited to experiment with mixed media in the first year of the course.
While some Ballarat students received offers to study close to home, others are preparing to move away in coming days and weeks.
Phoenix P-12 Community College dux Joel Dyer will accept a place at Monash University’s Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours) course.
He is preparing to move to an apartment on the campus in coming days. “This has cemented my plans and my dreams to be a theoretical physicist,” he said.
Fewer university offers made compared to 2018
Nearly 80 per cent of students who applied to attend university in 2019 received an offer in the first round of offers released by the Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre on Wednesday.
Australian Catholic University has made more than 400 offers for its Ballarat campus for the 2019 semester one intake.
A total of 494 first round offers have been made at Federation University’s Ballarat campuses.
Federation University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett said nursing and sport science has proven popular with prospective students at Federation University.
Every place for the university’s nursing course will be filled, with 205 offers going out for nursing students.
“This shows how strong our reputation is as a university of choice for nursing and healthcare programs,” Professor Bartlett said.
“We’ve invested heavily in updating our facilities and programs, and it’s great to see that reflected in such strong demand for our courses.”
Sports science students who received an offer from Federation University will be able to move into ‘state of the art facilities’ at the Mount Helen campus’ renovated sports science building when it is completed in June.
State wide, the VTAC released 51,638 offers. Since November, the centre has issued 56,845 offers to domestic applicants and 3,306 offers to international applicants.
There was a slight decrease in the number of domestic current year 12 applicants for 2019 dropping by 0.83 per cent from last year.
The number of international year 12 applications increased by 17.03 per cent, according to VTAC data.
VTAC director Catherine Wills said the increase in the number of applicants for international year 12 students was testament to the successful collaboration between VTAC and international offices at universities.
The most significant drop in application numbers came from the non-year 12 population, where there was a 9.23 per cent decrease from 2018.
Ms Wills said “the ongoing decrease in the number of applications from non-year 12 applicants reflects an increased uptake of direct applications to universities, TAFEs and other providers”.
To date, offers from universities have dropped 2.64 per cent on last year, while offers from TAFEs have dropped 11.06 per cent. Offers released by independent colleges are 16.36 per cent down on 2018.