Ballarat High School year 12 student Erin Dermody doesn't have the usual questions to ponder about supporting herself through university.
As one of just 20 people across Australia to receive the new Hansen Scholarship through the University of Melbourne, she will be given accommodation, a living allowance, mentoring and pastoral care as well as academic, cultural, career and other development opportunities.
All she has to do is get an ATAR of 90 or above, which she is on track to do, and she'll study a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the prestigious university next year.
Erin has a firm study and career path in her sights: a Bachelor of Biomedicine, a Doctorate of Medicine then training toward working as a specialist in women's health or surgery.
Receiving the scholarship, valued at $108,000, has lightened her load and will allow her to concentrate on study.
"I most likely wouldn't have been able to move down to Melbourne to study down there. I've always wanted to go to uni in Melbourne but I would just have to commute daily," she said.
"This definitely is almost a free ride - three years of accommodation and additional living allowance, it's very beneficial."
With only a few weeks left of year 12 before final exams, Erin is confident she'll achieve the results she needs in English, German, Maths Methods and Chemistry, after doing well in Further Maths last year.
The new Hansen Scholarship Program, created after a gift from the Hansen Little Foundation, assists 20 high-achieving students who face economic or other barriers to achieve their potential at university. They will move in to a purpose-built residence which will be completed next year.
Erin learned about the scholarship when he dad tagged her in to a Facebook post. After attending an information evening she decided to give it a shot - and was one of the 20 recipients chosen from among 500 applicants after a selection process involving written applications, references, video submissions and interviews.
She's excited about moving to Melbourne and starting a new chapter in life.
"I'm ready for it and I just can't wait to get in to it and get started," she said. "I think it will be enough to support me alone on the scholarship, but I'd like to keep working even one or two shifts a week to help keep balance in life."
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