It's time to go back to school! One of the many challenges is that shift from spending your whole day doing nothing to spending a whole day at school and whole night hitting the books.
It comes as no surprise that many students seem to crash and burn when they have lost their motivation to study. When I was in high school, when I lost motivation, I often viewed studying as paid work rather than a chore.
In Year 12, I set my eyes on one thing, the guaranteed Curtin Excellence Scholarship for students who achieved an ATAR over 96. I knew Curtin was a great business school and getting a scholarship would essentially half my HECS debt. The Scholarship guaranteed $5000 per year for the life of your course as long as you met a few conditions while in uni, such as maintaining a 75 course grade average and putting Curtin as first preference. Also, some courses, such as Medicine, are excluded from getting the course. Click here for last year's terms and conditions of the Scholarship. (The terms could change at any time).
I intended on studying a bachelor of Commerce, which is a 3 year course which makes the sum of my scholarship $15,000, not bad for one year of hard work. That's more than I would make in one year working at my current job at Woolworths (then again I only worked around 10 hours a week). On average, I studied around 3 hours a night, or 21 hours a week. Considering that the school year starts on the February 1 and the last year's WACE exam finished on the November 23, you are studying for approximately 295 days or 885 hours.
So if you do the math, $15,000 per year, divided by 885 hours, studying for your WACE is equivalent to around $16.94 an hour, which is a wage above most high school jobs. If you're doing engineering, your scholarship could be worth $20,000, which is around $22.60 an hour and if you're doing a Law and Commerce Double Degree that scholarship could be worth $27,500 or $31.07 an hour.
Of course, it's hard to see the economic benefits as it is not being paid out to your bank account every week and there is uncertainty about what ATAR you are going to get. However, it is an economic incentive to think about next time you decide you want to crash and burn and get the bare minimum ATAR required for your course. If you're going to have one shot at getting an ATAR, you might as well give yourself the best possible chance at getting a scholarship. Having a high ATAR would also increase your chances of accumulating scholarships at UWA or ECU, however, Curtin is only one that offers a guaranteed scholarship.
For me, this economic method of thinking paid off when I achieved an ATAR of 99.15 and got accepted by Curtin's Excellence Scholarship, valued at a potential $15,000, as well as getting the Curtin's Principal's Award Scholarship which was valued at $1000. As long as I maintain my grade above 75, I was paid $18.08 an hour to study for my WACE. Not bad.