Benefits and surprises of attending a selective entry high school

Student 1: Something that pleasantly surprised me was just being in an environment where everyone is like-minded. Everyone's striving for success and in that way it does motivate you and it pushes you to do the best that you can.

Student 2: I feel like walking to school is like really comfortable and it's just a really welcoming environment to be in. I feel like I belong.

Student 3: It was so surprising coming into this school where everyone's so passionate about so many different things and everyone gets to have a go at it.

Student 4: It's not just a science school, the options that the school has like music and sport, it's really a wide range of opportunities.

Student 5: There's just so much more to us than books and studying. We are just so well-rounded in every way. There's just so many things to get involved in, there's student leadership, music, arts, anything you want.

Student 6: I thought the school is for heavily, heavily academic students and I didn't think that I was that type of person. It turns out that's not how it is, and there's a diverse range of students and I can talk to people about different topics and it just won't be about maths or English.

Student 7: Another misconception is that everyone revolves around STEM, but I also know a lot of people who are passionate about humanities, history, the amount of politics debates we've had in other classes, to have that variety, you meet like-minded people but there's also individual differences that make everyone stand out.

Student 8: The main motto is ‘honour the work’ and I guess a lot of people hear Melbourne High and they instantly think well it's all about academics and all people do is study for 19 hours a day, barely sleep, drink, eat, do anything else. Once you come here you really realise that there's a lot more to it than that, and you find like a lot of people who have different sorts of talents that aren't just work related.

Student 9: The students here, they push you to be a better person and the teachers as well, everyone creates that kind of environment where you want to constantly strive to be something better.

Student 10: I think the biggest stigma that I face would be that I needed to be top of the class, that I needed to be super organised in only my studies and focus on getting the highest marks as possible. And so it felt very draining, it felt very exhausting knowing that I only had to chase that one score, which was ideally 100. And it made me realise after talking to some of like my fellow students here, some of the staff, that that's actually totally wrong. As a student here or a selective entry high school, you're here as a team, you're here as a unit, you're not here as an individual. You have to work together, collaboratively. You'd always be surprised about the student initiative and student voice and definitely student community that really tie in together and you definitely don't feel alone in anything that you do.

Student 11: Coming here is definitely noticeably harder. It's a good sort of challenging, not too much, but enough to get you trying harder and thinking stronger.

Student 8: I wasn't expecting there to be such a wide range of subjects and sports I could participate in.

Student 12: I was unsure of whether I wanted to come 'cause I wasn't fully focused on the academics, I wanted to like enjoy all parts of the school life. I think the transition was much smoother than I expected. Sport was still a big thing, music was definitely still a big thing.

Student 13: Something I was unsure about is leaving all the friendships that you've made at your old school. But something that I learned after being at the school is that you can still stay connected with those friends.

Student 1: I still keep in touch with a lot of my friends from my previous school. If anything I was, I do think that some of those friendships have actually grown stronger. You're obviously dealing with your own emotions, you forget that everyone is in the exact same boat. We're all dealing with the same things and yeah, I've made such amazing friends here, friends for life and I really am grateful for that.

Student 14: Those worries about me leaving my previous school, they disappeared within the first two weeks, because I was easily able to still communicate and enjoy time with them as well as go to this school. So it wasn't a worry that bothered me anymore.

Student 2: So travelling to school at the start was kind of a bit scary for me and for my parents. But now doing it for a while, you realise that you're not on your own, you're surrounded by friends and there's always someone from our school on your line. I've never seen a single line where there's not someone from Suzanne Cory on there with me. And I feel like that kind of makes you more comfortable.

Student 5: I know that it can be a barrier for a lot of students and parents, travelling, you learn how to be independent, you learn how to navigate around Melbourne, you learn how to be like smart around public settings sort of thing, and so it's taught me a lot.

Student 6: I felt like it would be very competitive, 'cause this is a competitive school, we wrote an exam to get in, but the students aren't as competitive as you'd think they would be. They're very friendly. When we don't understand things, I can ask notes from people or ask them to explain. I felt like a lot's changed after coming here. I certainly have a good group of people I can depend on.

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