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Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

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Madison Mills

Guaranteeing her future


Nineteen-year-old Canberra social work student Madison Mills had an early offer to ACU, but she still didn’t have the smoothest start to her first day.

“I got lost, and I spent about 45 minutes deciding what to wear, but after my first tutorials and lectures I knew I would love what I was about to be taught,” said Madison. “One lecturer talked about working in jails, rural areas and with children and it felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was in the right place.”

That journey began six months earlier when Madison was accepted into the Bachelor of Social Work through the ACU Guarantee program. A process she found easier than expected.

“Uploading my Year 11 results was the start, and then responding to a series of questions around community, volunteering, and my personal attributes,” she said. “These could improve my selection rank as they helped ACU see the person I was beyond the grades I submitted. 

“After submitting my application ACU kept me informed and I was notified on my result a few weeks later. The uploading process only took about two hours and resulted in a solid pathway into my dream career.

“By getting an early offer to ACU, the pressure during Year 12 was lowered immensely. I was able to enjoy Year 12, and not feel pressure that an ATAR score was the only thing defining my future. I was able to enjoy my formal, graduation and social gatherings. I also was more excited to start university as I knew early on where I was going and the course I was studying. This made it easier to start transitioning and planning for university.

Madison Mills displays awards

Madison and friends being recognised.

“I have always been a very social person, involved in school leadership and social groups. I have always been interested in volunteering and being involved with the community. When the time came to apply and investigate universities, most seemed to only value ATAR scores and academics.

“ACU was different with their focus on community and the skills I possess as a people person, I felt as if my qualities were finally being noticed.”

Embracing independence

Now in her second semester of study at ACU, Madison is on the way to making that dream career a reality in a place that values her and allows her to spread her wings.

“Since the Canberra Campus is smaller than most, the amount of help you can access easily is bigger,” she said. “I can talk one-on-one with my lecturer after class, access study groups and online support. The transition from school to university has been smooth and enjoyable. 

“I also love that tutorials are full of people who have the same interests and career aspirations as me. This makes it easy to reach out for help from fellow students or link up for study sessions.

“But the thing I enjoy most about uni, is the study to life ratio. I appreciate being able to choose the hours I study to fit around my work, socialising and family commitments. It opens the door to be involved in a lot more in the community. 

“I also love the variety of people I meet at uni. There are students of all ages, backgrounds and pathways and they are so interesting to talk with. Another bonus is they give great study advice and can offer different perspectives, based on what they are learning, and how it relates to my studies.”

Follow your passion

Madison’s advice for students thinking about university is to find something that makes you happy rather than makes you money.

“Study what you want. Study something that interests you and aligns with your everyday life. I feel like there is so much pressure nowadays to get into a career that either pays well or has a reputation that others like,” said Madison.

“Enjoy life while you are young too, especially if you are going straight to uni from high school. Travel, spend time with friends and family, explore new jobs or opportunities out there and don’t let unnecessary pressure dictate your path. Jump into a degree that aligns with what you want to achieve and the person you want to be. You may learn more about yourself along the way.

“When I was deciding in Year 12 where my career path would start, I went through different options. None seemed to interest me or align with who I am every day. My mum was the one who mentioned social work and after some research I decided it fit. Luckily for me, I love it and will definitely spend the rest of my life in this field.”

Keen to get an early offer to study at ACU? Learn more about ACU Guarantee.

Impact brings you compelling stories, inspiring research, and big ideas from ACU. It's about the impact we’re having on our communities, and our Mission in action. It’s a practical resource for career, life and study.

At ACU it’s education, but not as you know it. We stand up for people in need, and causes that matter.

If you have a story idea or just want to say hello, do contact us.

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2022 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G