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Emma Baillie

Getting ahead by giving back


We all know good grades help you get into uni. A lesser known way to gain entry to your dream degree is by giving back to your community. We spoke to Emma Baillie, who used her work in the community to help her gain entry to ACU.

During high school Emma Baillie was engaged in a range of activities. 

“At school I was the type of person who didn’t shy away from “having a go”. In my years at school I signed up for six sporting teams and two music groups. I was the college sport and health captain and the swimming co-captain,” said Emma. 

“My school had a great outlook on community engagement and gave students ample opportunity to be active participants, so naturally I also signed up for several service groups. The three I found shaped me most were the St Vincent de Paul service group, the L’ARCHE disability outreach service group and the Homeless Connect service group. Aside from raising money and awareness for these marginalised groups in our society, the real impact was made with the time spent with those who needed our care, compassion and empathy.”

Gaining an advantage

When it came time to apply for university, Emma was keen to study occupational therapy. Her volunteer work gave her a distinct advantage over other applicants.
 
“The ACU Community Achiever Program (CAP) was something my school guidance counsellor mentioned. She said I would be crazy not to apply.” 

CAP recognises student’s work in the community as part of their application to study at ACU. It rewards a range of community engagement activities with early entry to ACU, as well as the advantage of adjusted entry scores.

“I liked the sound of the program for two key reasons. It meant that I would have early entry to the uni, before the rest of my peers and before the release of results. It was so reassuring to know before everyone else that I had entry to a course at a university. Also, I liked that ACU held such a strong consideration for community and ethics within their enrolment process.

“If you’re thinking about applying for CAP I have nothing but encouragement for you. You have nothing to lose by just having a go. You don’t have to change the world overnight or raise thousands of dollars; it’s the time, effort, thought and care that you may have brought to your community which matter most.”

Committed to community

After gaining entry to study occupational therapy and beginning uni, Emma had to work to find a balance. 

“When I came to uni, the first year was extremely full-on. I was also an athlete training to compete in the Youth World Championships for Sailing which was held in Langkawi, Malaysia at the end of 2015. It wasn’t until the second semester of my second year of uni when I had a community placement that I realised I was no longer giving back. 

“It was clear to me that I had lost the balance I had in high school. I got back in touch with the Ecumenical Coffee Brigade to volunteer – and I have thoroughly enjoyed be involved again.”

Interested in applying for ACU’s Community Achiever Program? Find out more.

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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.

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

Copyright@ Australian Catholic University 1998-2019 | ABN 15 050 192 660 CRICOS Reg: 00004G