VCESS is short for VCE Summer School. http://umsu.unimelb.edu.au/jump-in/summerschool/
First and foremost, this was one of my best experiences of year 12.
I was a part of the Kwong Lee Dow program since year 10 (https://futurestudents.unimelb.edu.au/info/school-students/kwongleedow) so I was able to go to the day summer school as being a Resi ( A part of the residential program) for half the price.
VCESS is a two-week program held at Melbourne University during January to provide relatively inexpensive prep classes for VCE year 11 and 12 students along with inclusive university students to help you with any of your left over or “too hard to complete” holiday homework.
When I was researching VCESS there was very little info about the program and if you are anything like me… I hate going into something without knowing exactly what I am heading into.
VCESS is structured so that there is two “streams” you can apply for to attend the VCE Summer School. There is the day program where you come to Melbourne Uni every week day from 9am to 4:15ish and there is the Residential Program – “Resi” which means that you stay at St Hildas College for the weekdays, go home for the middle weekend and come back to stay for week two at the college.
So…. The day program
For English, you have Lectures + Tutorials and for the rest of your subjects you will have only tutorials.
Apart from the tutorials activities were run throughout the two weeks. Such activities included:
- Campus Tour ( with your group leader on day 1)
- Scavenger Hunt
- Beach Day ( or if it is bad weather- Museum Day)
- BBQ and other lunches provided
- Tertiary Expo ( in week 2)
During the two weeks students complete for studmuffin- I am not going to explain this part because there has got to be some element of surprise at VCESS. But since you have heard of it, you can keep an ear out. GET INVOLVED, ITS FUN!!
The Residential Program
If you get accepted into the Residential Program, from then on in you will be known as a Resi.
So what should you bring? When you get accepted you will receive an email about what to bring but let me highlight some of the most needed items for your stay
- SUNSCREEN!! You will get burnt, the sun is hot during that time in Melbourne and there is little shade when you walk to and from St Hilda’s ( where you will be staying) and Union House ( where you meet with your tutors every morning).
- Cards or Uno– This is something that I did not bring but I was very regretful that I didn’t. There is not much to do in your spare time apart from table tennis and talking which eventually gets repetitive. So please bring cards, you will thank me later!
- Aerogard ( or other mosquito repellant)- The mosquitos are fierce and if you don’t protect yourself then you will get bitten the moment you walk outside ( and you will spend a lot of time outside in the evening, either doing an activity or waiting around)
- A permanent marker- And make sure its a good one. On the last day of VCESS you are allowed to sign each others shirt so remember that you need a well pigmented permanent marker.
- ID card holder that can be clipped on to your lanyard. I recived one of these on another camp that I went on so I took it to this one and it was great. But the rest of my friends who were at St. Hildas had to tape their room key card to their name tag ( which halfway through the camp usually broke off the lanyard) and some key cards were lost ( which is very bad).
But apart from that: When you arrive you will receive a pass card, a lanyard, name tag, t-shirt and your subject notes with your timetable.
The dorm room– It is very hot, and sometimes it was very difficult to sleep because the rooms do not contain fans ( so I suggest you take your own). It is a medium sized room with a sink room that is connected to your next door room buddy.
DO NOT leave your window open at night because there is a great chance that possums will come into your room. And they are not nice, cute possums but fierce!
The food– For breakfast, there is a selection of cereals, yoghurt and Juice. You will get sandwiches for lunch every day for the day program and most of the time they will become warm by the time you get to eat them. And for dinner, you will get a small selection of hot foods plus salads. There are vegetarian options as well. The options were slightly repetitive but they still tasted good. **HINT** Make sure you arrive at the dining hall early because the line was often so large that we had to wait outside the door.
So, what happens after the day program students go home?
You walk back to St Hildas and then after a meet up with your group leader you will do an activity or game. This is usually inside St Hildas or in Melbourne Uni.
After Dinner you then do another activity, it is in this time that you might be lucky enough to venture out of St Hildas and complete an amazing race around Melbourne or go to Lygon St and go on a gelati crawl. But If you do go out of the college you must wear your VCESS T-Shirt.
All together the VCESS program is a MUST do for anyone entering either year 11 and especially year 12. No matter if you are a part of the Resi program or a part of the day program you gain as much as you put in. I hope you have an amazing time as I did!