ACG Parnell College has been a springboard to success for aspiring doctor Jessica Han.
The high-achieving 18-year-old is now in her first year of a double degree medical programme at the University of Sydney, which only accepts the top 0.05% of high school leavers.
“I received offers from universities in England, New Zealand and Australia, but I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out I’d got into the University of Sydney,” says Jessica, who is working towards a Bachelor of Science/Doctor of Medicine.
“This university was the most challenging to get into and my highest preference. It was also the last offer I received – I guess they kept the best for last!”
Not only is Jessica now pursuing her dream career at her number one university, but she has an AU$30,000 Chancellor’s Scholarship to ease the journey. The scholarship is awarded to outstanding school leavers who achieve the highest ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) of 99.95, equivalent to four A*s grades for Cambridge A-Levels. But for Jessica, the prestigious scholarship does far more than simply relieve the financial burden of tertiary level studies.
“I see this scholarship as recognition of the past, a reward for the present, and motivation for the future. It also symbolises my gratitude towards ACG Parnell College and all the school offered me – from top-notch academics and teaching to unrivalled support from staff and students. The impact ACG has had on my achievement is undeniable.”
During her three years at ACG Parnell College, Jessica excelled, not just academically but in all areas of school life - including training for up to 15 hours each week as a competitive rhythmic gymnast and ballerina in the Royal Academy of Dance.
“The academics without a doubt are first class, but so too is the strong sense of school spirit and the outstanding range of opportunities the school offers in areas such as arts, sports and leadership. For example, I was a lead dancer and did backstage for our school productions, volunteered in the library, played volleyball, debated and completed my silver award in Duke of Edinburgh. In Year 13, I was a Prefect and Social Committee leader, organising fundraising events and our school’s annual quiz night. I also founded the kids’ literature quiz club and gained entry into the New Zealand Chemistry Olympiad Training Camp.”
In fact, it’s these broader aspects of school life that Jessica believes helped pave the way to the University of Sydney.
“The admission process was exceptionally challenging and involved not only strong academic results but also an interview which focused on extracurriculars, life experiences and passion for the field. The experiences I gained at ACG, through volunteering, social events and leadership activities, enabled me to demonstrate life skills that can’t be expressed with pen and paper.”
While Jessica is currently based in New Zealand and studying remotely due to Covid-19, she can’t wait to return to Sydney and take advantage of all campus life offers.
“The great thing about getting involved in all the university’s extracurricular activities is you get to meet people of all disciplines, year levels and backgrounds.”
Currently majoring in anatomy and histology (the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues), Jessica is looking forward to continued exploration in the field of human biology.
“The three-year bachelor’s degree before medicine gives me the chance to discover new subjects and gain an education in multiple disciplines. Ultimately, I want to find a field of medicine that I can specialise in, and I hope one day to work in medical education, sharing my knowledge and experience with aspiring medics. As a personal challenge, the emergency department or humanitarian aid are aspects that would be great milestones.”
For now, though, she’s concentrating on gaining her degree and embracing new connections, and the lessons she learnt at ACG Parnell College will undoubtedly underpin her endeavours.
“There are so many things I have taken away from ACG that I can apply to my current situation and the future. ACG showed me the fun in learning, helped me discover my passions and taught me to keep chasing my goals. I learnt to analyse my mistakes and view them as opportunities for improvement. I’ll be forever grateful to my teachers for their unconditional willingness to help, innovative ideas to keep learning fun, and ability to uncover my potential.”