Small public school tops success rate

A small public school in the South West was the most successful in the State at getting its students into their first choice of university course.

Figures obtained from the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre under freedom of information reveal that Denmark High School had the highest proportion of students accepted into their preferred university course, at 84 per cent.

Of the 43 Year 12 students who attended Denmark, 25 applied for university and 21 received their first preference.

The top-10 school with the most students was Penrhos College, which had 80 per cent of the 141 students who applied for university courses get their top preference.

Most of the other schools in the top 10 were low-fee private schools, including Carey Baptist College and John Calvin Christian College.

The Catholic sector had four schools in the top 10 - Sacred Heart, Emmanuel, Mazenod and Mercy colleges.

Only one other public school made the list, with Woodvale Secondary College in equal 10th place. Perth Modern School, which topped the recent league tables for academic achievement, had just 71 per cent of its students get their first choice.

Educators are divided on how important it is for students to get into the university undergraduate course listed as their first preference.

Some say students should aim high, even if they do not get in, while others believe they should be counselled to choose courses that match their abilities.

Denmark principal Diane Cole said the high percentage of students getting into their preferred course was a measure of the school's success.

She said most of her students were sensible, with realistic aspirations for a wide range of courses, including science, physiotherapy, teaching and psychology.

More than half had applied to the University of WA, which has the highest minimum cut-off admission rank of 80.

The West Australian

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