Balancing study with caring for her disabled mother is a normal day in the life of University of Newcastle Central Coast campus student Belinda Leicester.
The 28-year-old from Umina Beach, who is studying for a degree in information technology, said she had never considered tertiary study as something she could fit into her busy life.
"I didn't think I would be able to go to university. It was not on my radar because I thought I would not be smart enough and I would not have enough time to study.
"Mum has chronic lupus and crushed vertebrae, so mobility is an issue for her. Being able to study at the Central Coast campus meant I could live with and help care for her without compromising my education.
"I have surprised myself by doing better than I expected and now my lecturers are encouraging me to consider doing postgraduate studies," she said.
With the 30 September deadline for on time main round applications for university study in 2011 looming, Ms Leicester encouraged Central Coast residents to consider tertiary study.
"The way the campus is structured at Ourimbah, with TAFE, the University and Central Coast Community College on one site, it made it easy for me to make the transition from TAFE to uni," she said.
"I would not have been able to make the move without the support of my teachers, who have been very encouraging. There is also a great support network provided by the University for its students."
The multi-sector campus offers 15 university undergraduate degree programs, more than 70 TAFE tertiary and vocational programs, and 815 community college courses. The University's programs cater to the full range of students from school leavers to mature age.
Undergraduate courses offered exclusively at the Central Coast campus include sustainable resource management, marine biology, podiatry, oral health, exercise and sports science and food science and human nutrition. To apply to study at the University of Newcastle in 2011 visit www.uac.com.au. On time Main Round applications must be made by September 30.
Photo opportunity and interviews: Ms Leicester and her mother are available by appointment. Also available for interview are recent school leavers undertaking their first year of study.