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What are intensive schools?

What are intensive schools?


What exactly is an intensive school? During session breaks some Science and Health students may be heading to our Wagga, Bathurst or Port Mac campuses for an intensive school! Lauren Bridgfoot tells you all about her past experience at an intensive school and how to plan for them!

Written by Lauren Bridgfoot

As an online student, you might have heard about these elusive ‘intensive schools’ that you’ll have to attend during the semester breaks if you are studying a practical course or one that requires some additional learning.

Intensive schools are typically run on-campus where online students travel to their host campus and participate in ‘intensive’ classes through a short period during the university breaks.

If you are studying a hands-on course, you will be participating in all of your practical classes for the semester over the intensive period.

Schools for each subject range from 2-4 days, usually running for most of the day to get through all your necessary practical skills to learn and participate in.

Classes might also include practical examinations depending on your subject, like completing a chemistry prac exam where you do a series of experiments and answer questions to be marked later.

Or you might have to demonstrate that you can do certain skills to be checked off as competent in that subject.

One common theme amongst all these classes though, is that they provide students with face-to-face time with lecturers which can make learning much more interactive.

Take advantage of your lecturers by picking their brains, or perfecting those skills you’re learning with their guidance!

Even as a mostly on-campus student, I still had to attend a few intensive schools myself, as well as participating in one from the teacher perspective as a part of my workplace learning.

Lauren literally examining skulls and getting in-person guidance!

My tips to prepare for the intensive school period.

  1. Look for accommodation sooner rather than later!

This is especially the case if you’re going to Wagga Wagga where a LOT of the intensives are held. There are a couple options depending on your budget.

Obviously you can stay in hotels/motels, but the university campuses also open some of the on-campus accommodation for online students to stay in. So if you want to be close to all the action maybe give that a go!

2. Prepare to make friends!

Regardless of what subjects you’re doing, you’re going to be meeting a group of people all learning the same thing and probably doing the same course as you (or similar).

Most people are going to be likeminded, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and make friends.

Over the period where I assisted in Introduction to Equitation Science I met around 50 students and saw many budding friendships form over the three-day periods they were together.

Making friends on the job!

3. Look ahead into travel costs.

Fuel and travel tickets aren’t cheap these days, so if that’s looking a little pricey, maybe investigate some of your options to save.

Often there are opportunities for student concessions, so always ask about those! And don’t forget that your classmates are going to be travelling too, maybe check if anyone is open to carpooling.

There are also some options for grants/scholarships through Charles Sturt to help with intensive school costs, be sure to check those out.

Most importantly, have fun! Sometimes it’s good to take a breath and remember that you’re there to experience and study something you’re interested in!

For more information on intensive schools, click here.

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