A World of Opportunities through VCE

As students and parents examine pathways beyond secondary school, many enquire about the possibility of studying at an overseas or interstate university with the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).  The VCE provides an equivalent pathway into international universities along with other Australian and international courses such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma.

In the last five years alone, CGGS students who have completed the VCE have accepted undergraduate places to study

  • Fashion Design at the Parsons School of Art and Design in New York (USA)
  • Electrical Engineering (Basketball Scholarship) at South Dakota School of the Mines and Engineering (USA)
  • Actuarial Studies at the Stern School of Business at New York University (USA)
  • Art and Design at Central St Martins University of the Arts in London (UK)
  • Linguistics and English Studies at the University of Hong Kong

In addition, one of our 2015 graduates has undertaken an internship in Conservation and Restoration at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in Austria. Another student, from 2012, has commenced postgraduate studies in Natural Resources and Economics at Harvard University (USA).

These old grammarians continue a long and distinguished history of CGGS students who have studied in prominent universities across the USA, (including Ivy League universities); UK, (including Oxford University) and universities in France and Hong Kong. If students wish to study internationally, there is an extensive application process overseen by our Careers Counsellor.

At the completion of Year 12, students are provided with a percentile ranking called an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank) and this is the score that is used as part of the selection criteria by Australian institutions.

ATAR scores are private and can only be disclosed by schools if the student gives permission, hence they cannot be used in external comparisons with other schools. We can, however, comment generally about our exceptional VCE results. The CGGS percentage of students that attain an ATAR over 90 is so significant (in 2017 it was 62%) that, if used as a ranking indicator, would place CGGS far higher than most of the schools currently above it in the ‘Better Education’ and newspaper rankings.

There is often speculation about the advantage of the IB over the VCE.  In fact, students who undertake the IB receive a ‘Notional ATAR’, equivalent to the ATAR and both are used to determine university placement.

As the landscape of jobs and careers change rapidly, there are very strong indicators that universities all over the world are changing rapidly also – broadening their criteria for what constitutes a high-quality candidate. This is developing around the greater demand for students to demonstrate their application of learning, and development of transferable or enterprise skills.

Last weekend I hosted a Professor from Harvard who works as a Senior Research Fellow in Ecology.  As we discussed the intake of students into his programs he emphasised that evidence provided by the applicants on what they have already done in this area of study, or a related field, in either a volunteer or work capacity is valued very highly.

At CGGS, we are designing initiatives within our academic and service learning programs so that our students can demonstrate their ability to apply their learning, create new knowledge, understanding, insights or products and engage in communities. We also provide a digital platform for our students to map the development of these skills and create an evidence-based portfolio of skills.  This is vitally important as we understand that the ATAR alone will not be a sufficient measure for the future.

An example of this is the active engagement of the CGGS Girls Invent Program where two of our teams won 1st and 2nd places in December last year.  The team who are designing the Score Buddy, a scoring device that fits onto a tennis racquet, have already engineered drawings for their device, a provisional patent and are in the process of pitching to companies to support them develop a working prototype.  Our Year 8 students are inspired to work collaboratively in exploring the concept of innovation and the generation of ideas, leading to the creation of unique inventions and products. The program has provided opportunities to learn a great deal more about commercial industries and the steps involved in gaining market entry. It is worth noting that one of the winning students from the inaugural Girls Invent Program in 2015 completed her VCE last year and was offered full scholarships at both Harvard University and Stanford University.

At CGGS our VCE program is extensive.  Students can choose from 29 subjects we offer each and every year and these are not dependent on student numbers.  We believe that the diversity of our offerings is important in enabling student choice to determine their pathway, through either one of breadth or specialisation.

Our focus on providing a personalised learning pathway through choice of subjects, opportunities to develop enterprise skills, and programs which engage students in connecting with and serving the community, prepare the students at CGGS to be ready for a continuously changing world post school, not only in Australia, but internationally.


With best wishes

Debbie Dunwoody