How to support your child through VCE

How to support your child through VCE

Simon Bolles’ daughter, Felicity, achieved an ATAR that could have gained her entry into almost any university course in Australia.

He was excited to see her take that next step, secretly hoping she’d follow in his footsteps and study at the University of Melbourne. He had fond memories of his time there and is still actively involved in the university’s alumni community. Felicity, however, had another idea.

She wanted to study both criminology and law, a unique double degree combination offered at few Australian universities. At La Trobe, Felicity could pursue both of her passions. It didn’t take much researching of the course and La Trobe for Simon to change his mind.

“Her degree choice combined with experience gained through internships will make her a strong competitor in any profession she chooses,” he says. “Not to mention her personal qualities: she’s cool, calm and collected. She’s been a dream. As well as being intelligent, she’s a hard worker. She’s got work ethic in spades,” he says with pride.

Felicity studied VCE at Ivanhoe Grammar, just a short drive from La Trobe’s Bundoora Campus. While in secondary school, Felicity was a high-achieving athlete, competing at state level in swimming and athletics. Since starting at La Trobe, she’s joined an Aussie Rules Football team—much to the delight of her dad, who remembers their time spent kicking the footy in the backyard.

“The transition from secondary school to university was seamless,” he says. “For other parents who have a child going through the transition from Year 12 to University, I think, as a parent, you just need to be there in the background to offer your support. Every child is different, but I think it’s very important to make it clear you’re there to help.”

Simon also recommends parents do their own research on the degrees and universities their child is considering.

“That way, you’re armed with information, so if they do come to you, then you’re already informed,” he says.

He also encourages Year 12s to head along to university Open Days and to discuss course options with their friends and peers.

Law and criminology student, Felicity Bolles, and her parents, Simon and Sarah.

“It’s vital to have a tertiary education because it’s a very competitive world,” says Simon. “If you get the highest marks you can in VCE, it gives you more options.”

Simon acknowledges that, for most parents, VCE can be a difficult year. He encourages parents to keep the conversation going with their child and show interest in their pursuits.

“It’s important to provide the workspaces and environment for them to do the best that they can. When they lose their cool, as they inevitably do, it’s important to bite your tongue and accept that they’re going through a stressful time.”

Once they’ve arrived at university, Simon emphasises the importance of getting involved in uni life. He encourages participation in clubs and societies, as well as undertaking internships, to build networks and a sense of belonging.

“No matter which club you join, it’s always a great idea. You get a network out of that. You meet all different people that you wouldn’t have otherwise if you kept just within your own faculty—whether that be the doctors or dentists, lawyers or accountants, or the candlestick maker. To have connections across different disciplines can be important later in life.”

La Trobe has been the right choice for his daughter. He’s thrilled to see Felicity thriving—and is eager to see how she combines her passions and strengths in her future career.

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