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First-class springboard to university study

Transitioning into tertiary studies is not always easy, but ACG Parnell College alumnus and mechatronics whiz Caleb Probine has taken it all in his stride.

Now two years into a Bachelor of Engineering at the University of Auckland, the 2018 ACG Parnell College graduate believes the seven years he spent at the school were an excellent training ground.

“The thorough teaching at ACG Parnell ensured that my fundamentals across maths and physics were strong coming into university, making the academic transition smooth,” says Caleb.

“Also, the really supportive teachers and frequent feedback at ACG allowed me to figure out the best ways to study and learn new content, again making the transition to university really easy.”

Exceptional results in his Year 13 scholarship exams earned Caleb an Outstanding Scholar Award, contributing $5000 a year for three years of tertiary study. He also gained another $5000 boost when he received the John Morris Scholarship for achieving the Cambridge International ‘Best Across Three’ Award, which recognised him as the top A-Level student in New Zealand.

While his excellent academic outcomes provided plenty of options, Auckland University offered the winning choice.

“Living in my hometown has allowed me to start university in a really comfortable environment, minimising the stress of moving somewhere new. And thanks to my scholarships, the fact that the first year was fees free, and that I can live with my parents, it is really affordable. That means I’ll be able to pursue further study internationally at the end of my degree, should I decide to do so.”

For now though, Caleb is happy to be making the most of university life in the City of Sails.

“I’m just really enjoying the experience so far. Mind you, the extra freedom and independence has been both a blessing and curse! At university you only have to work as much as you feel you need to, and it’s your responsibility to make sure you understand the content. That was the biggest shock: realising how much responsibility I needed to take for my learning.”

However, given the firm educational foundations he built at ACG Parnell College, Caleb admits he hasn’t found the course content particularly difficult to date. In fact, he says it just feels like a natural progression from high school. What has been challenging though, is having to apply this learning.

“Whilst exams are still significant at university, projects and assignments and smaller tests make up a lot of each course, and it has been a big challenge learning to balance all these different workloads adequately. Furthermore, groupwork has begun to play a big role in many papers, and I’ve had to develop my communication skills beyond what they were at high school.”

Fortunately, thanks to all the groundwork laid during his years at ACG Parnell College, Caleb is well-equipped to navigate any of the demands university life throws his way.