The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Changing university requirements

The Australian National University (ANU), one of Australia's Group of 8 universities and highly regarded globally, will introduce new entry criteria as of 2020.

Students applying to ANU will be required to complete a survey designed to tell the admissions department about the 'whole person' and this is currently focused on co-curricular and service commitments. This is great news for students at Scotch where we know our students are extremely busy fulfilling passions and commitments in many areas as well as completing their academic studies. The new requirements are also designed to streamline ANU early entry, scholarships and accommodation qualifications.

ANU's website says, "We know students are more than just a score, we know they are passionate, we know they have unique skills, we know they gain experience through community service, volunteering, working part time, participating in school leadership, excelling in sports, gaming, performance, competitions and more.

We also know that sometimes life pans out a bit differently for some students, that they have to work hard, care for family, and face other challenges. So, we want them to tell us about that too, so we can get to know the whole person."

ANU's move is another move away from universities using the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) as their sole indicator of a student's suitability for university, and a reflection of recent criticism. Of course, for every critic of the ATAR there experts who support its role and believe it is still the best method for Australian universities to choose their undergraduates.

Unlike schools in the United States, where university entry requirements are very focused on interviews, diverse applications, and co-curricular commitments, Australian schools are not as well placed to guide students through new processes and requirements. To an extent this should be the responsibility of the universities though overseas experience would suggest this is unlikely. With the huge number of co-curricular and service learning opportunities already available to them, Scotch College students planning on applying to ANU will be well placed. With the likelihood that other top universities will follow ANU's lead, the next step is for us to ensure our boys have records and evidence of their interests and activities, and that they are able to articulate what they do outside of the classroom. The International Baccalaureate already has a number of requirements in these areas and our delivery of the Diploma program means that we are well placed to assist all our students as universities change their admission requirements. Methods by which the College is already assisting students in showing their character outside of the classroom include The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, the opportunity to be recognised for Community and Service by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority and with strongly guided reflection following the Year 10 Service Programme. We also award Colours and Honours based on commitment and excellence in co-curricular activities and extensive leadership opportunities.

Undoubtedly the ATAR is an important factor in judging a student's suitability for university but I can't help thinking that perhaps the quote below is testament that there is a lot more to our young people and it is pleasing to see ANU recognise this.

fish cartoon

For more information, head to

Ittima Cherastidtham from the Grattan Institute has been a particularly strong proponent of the ATAR. Read her article in The Australian here.

A card of thanks …

Below is a card that was recently received by the College. A big shout out to all the boys involved in making soup each week!

To the teachers and students of Scotch College,

For some 11 years I have been co-ordinating a fortnightly lunch for mentally ill people firstly in Manning, but now we meet in Como. I am able to access some food from Food Rescue.

Rainbow is a friendship group, run by Uniting Care West, and I usually have a group of 35+ people for lunch. I prepare most of the food.

Last lunch the group enjoyed some delicious soup which I was given by Food Rescue and the label on one container said "Vegetable Soup" made by Year 10 Community and Service Students, date made 23rd March 2018, from Scotch College.

I wish to thank those students at Scotch College for such a brilliant community project. My participants thoroughly enjoyed the soup and wanted more, but they were delighted to be advised that Scotch College Students had cooked the soup. Many of my people live alone and are isolated, others live in a hostel which supplied the bare necessities, and all have no family. They were buoyed by the fact that someone cared about them.

Each Christmas many Rainbow people qualify for the hamper from U.C.W which I never know where the donations come from. In 2016 many of our hampers had a signed card in them from students in Year 3, Scotch College. It was remiss of me not to thank you back then, but it is nice to know where gifts come from. Congratulations to the School for having community programmes that enable students to realise there are people less fortunate than themselves and that their caring efforts are greatly appreciated. Como Rainbow was very happy to be recipients of your caring gestures. God bless you all.

Sincere thanks, kind regards

Bethlyn, lunch co-ordinator

Teach for Australia

In the past two weeks our staff have hosted two Teach for Australia associates. In both instances the associates have taken a huge amount from their time at Scotch and I thank our community for embracing them and doing what we can to support the initiative. For the most recent report into Teach for Australia head to

Mr David Kyle
Director of Community and Services