If you’ve clicked on this (which you must have, so good choice), then hooray – you’re probably interested in studying the best thing that there is to study: Science. And that is 100% fact, I swear I’m not biased at all. No way!

Well, no. I am slightly biased. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you might have gathered that I myself am studying a Bachelor of Science, and more specifically I’m studying chemistry and physics. I am also a part of this programme called ‘Science Scholars’, which I get it – it can sound a bit exclusive, but I’m not here to blow my own trumpet. Instead, I want to encourage you guys as much as possible to (when the time comes, and more on that later) apply to be a part of the programme, even if you’re not 100% sure that you want to study science at a university level.

First of all, let me explain what the Science Scholars Programme actually is.

On paper, Science Scholars is a module based in the Faculty of Science – meaning it is a collection of three courses you can take throughout your undergraduate Science degree alongside your major or majors.

But, Science Scholars – in my opinion – is much more than that, it’s a vibrant community of people willing to engage, learn and share in their love of science.

In your first year, you’ll be assigned a mentor – someone who is an academic at the university (usually) within your science field of interest. Personally, I cannot downplay how useful this is, as through your mentor you have access to the field that you most likely want to end up in. I have received invaluable career advice, general university advice and incredibly useful tips and tricks pertaining to my majors from my mentor – something I definitely wouldn’t have got if I wasn’t a part of the programme.

In terms of the course for the first year, it is not your typical course. No exams, no tests. Instead, once a week you get to meet up with all of the other Science Scholars in a ‘seminar’ (which sounds much more exclusive than it actually is) and listen to scientists talk about their interests, whether that be their particular field of research – or broader topics such as science communication – all over a cup of coffee and biscuits. Perfect!

So far this year, we’ve had talks from AI enthusiasts, expert science communicators and we were going to have a session with Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles (yes, the Dr Siouxsie Wiles) before she had to rush off and save the country from COVID-19! Let’s hope that our upcoming session with Professor Shaun Hendy of COVID-19 modelling fame doesn’t get put on the back burner too.

Going into your second and third year, you continue on with the seminars but start to focus in more on the skills that are needed for scientific research and communication. This all culminates with a research project in your final year of the programme.

It all sounds pretty exciting doesn’t it. But wait, there’s more. You get a reusable cup and Science Scholar’s t-shirt as well. If that doesn’t sway you, I honestly don’t know what would.

Well, now you’re interested – how on Earth (or ‘terra’, for all you aspiring earth scientists out there) do you actually become part of the Science Scholars Programme?

It’s quite simple, really, but a bit of planning might be required for the application – which consists of four parts:

  1. Apply for a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Advance Science degree (I think this part is relatively self-explanatory).
  2. Write an essay on a scientific discovery or theory (or study or result) that has provoked some sort of response from you. Don’t be scared by this part, once you start things will just start flowing!
  3. Write a short statement on why you want to be a part of the Science Scholars Programme.
  4. Get a referee, such as a science teacher, to fill out a reference form for you.

This, along with your academic results will form the selection criteria. But, and I cannot stress this enough, just apply! Don’t be worried that perhaps your academic results or such aren’t ‘good enough’, because Science Scholars isn’t just about academics: it’s about a passion for scientific discovery.

All this has to be done by 8 December, but if you complete it by the 30 September and get in, then you’ll have guaranteed accommodation in O’Rorke Hall (as long as you’ve applied for accommodation by that date as well).

For exact details, follow this link: https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/science/study-with-us/science-scholars-programme.html

I wish you all the best in your application, and if you aren’t sure whether or not to apply, just remember the t-shirt and cup!