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Students encouraged to maximise opportunities

Monday, 14 August 2017 9:23pm

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First-year entrance scholarship students hear more about the opportunities on offer at Otago at a Maximising Opportunities event held last week. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

There is more to University life than just study, as first-year entrance scholarship students discovered last week.

The students were invited to a Maximising Opportunities event hosted by Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne on Tuesday 8 August, specifically set up to help them get the most from their Otago experience.

The Vice-Chancellor welcomed over 200 students and staff to the event, saying it was a great opportunity to showcase how the University earns its reputation for producing well-rounded students.

"The keys to success include working hard, attending class and engaging in extra-curricular activities. Academic success alone is not enough; in order to achieve you need to participate."

Professor Hayne urged the scholarship recipients to explore new directions to make the most of their talents.

“We have unprecedented opportunities for a broad education at Otago; the student experience is exceptional. Take the chance today to define yourself and choose your direction.

“The keys to success include working hard, attending class and engaging in extra-curricular activities. Academic success alone is not enough; in order to achieve you need to participate.”

Gallup-Purdue research has identified that happiness and success after graduation depend on relationships with mentors and high-quality extra-curricular activity in addition to academic achievement.

The Director of First-Year Experience Dr Stephen Scott explained that the University works hard to make the first-year experience a positive one for all students, and prides itself on the range of opportunities available, and on its wraparound services that support the development of individuals.

“The result is that Otago has a reputation for producing well-rounded students who contribute to society.”

Otago’s scholarship students are recognised for their academic potential, but it is important they learn about the wide range of extracurricular activities they can get involved with as they pursue academic excellence, Mr Scott says. Last week’s event was a reminder for them of the many options available to extend their horizons while they are studying.

The students heard about the Otago Student Leadership Award, the University’s Global Student Exchange programme, and about prestigious scholarships.

They also had the opportunity to find out more about the University Volunteer Centre, Ignite Consultants, the International Office and the OUSA.

Dr Scott was appointed the inaugural Director of First-Year Experience at the start of 2016, and is responsible for providing academic leadership, oversight and management of matters relating to the first-year student experience at Otago. He was instrumental in developing the Locals Programme, which provides academic, social and pastoral support to first-year students living in the local community – flatting, boarding or living at home in their first year at Otago.