“Having a yarn” From one rural student to another, practical in-school programs demystifying university and enabling student progression

  • Brittany Brown University of Wollongong
  • Samantha Avitaia University of Wollongong
  • Kylie Austin University of Wollongong
  • Jaimey Facchin University of Wollongong


The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Outreach program was established in 2011 and in 2017, through a National Priority Pool Grant, UOW piloted the regional and rural outreach program, “Rural In2Uni”. The Rural In2Uni program enabled university students to “pay it forward” through a pedagogical model which places rural schools and students at the centre of tailored programs.  Through a mixed-methods research approach, this study explores the diverse experiences of students from regional and rural areas of Australia in imagining and accessing higher education. It also examines the extent to which the local implementation of schools outreach impacts students’ intentions for university. The research revealed the need to re-imagine partnerships for schools outreach, highlighting the importance of programs that embed local knowledge and strong collaborative relationships between universities and schools to foster progression and access to higher education for students located in regional and rural areas.