The Commerce Achievement Scholarship: A ticket across the Bass Straight

By Seth Robinson

For students who have grown up in regional areas, the move to Melbourne brings all sorts of new challenges and opportunities. For Oliver Gunn, it was a chance to explore his interests and meet new people. The Commerce Achievement Scholarship (CAS) was his ticket to this big city.

Oliver grew up on a farm in rural Tasmania and went to school in Hobart, where his interests predominantly lay in science. It wasn’t until he was in year 12 that he shifted his focus to pursuing the Bachelor of Commerce.

“Once I decided I wanted to study Commerce, I knew I needed to go further afield. There weren’t the same kind of offerings in Tasmania as there are in Melbourne, and at that point, I’d spent 18 years living in Tassie, and I kind of felt like I’d done everything you can do there, It was like ‘okay, I’ve lived on a farm for 18 years, it’s time to spend some time in the city,” says Oliver. “It took me a little while to adapt to living and studying in Melbourne, but I think I found my rhythm in a couple of weeks. It’s a different learning style to year 11 or 12, so you have to ease into a bit, but once you’ve found your groove it’s great. I really like the self-directed way of working in university. I’m also getting to engage with subjects like finance, which I really enjoy.”

Oliver Gun
Oliver Gunn

Receiving a Commerce Achievement Scholarship (CAS) removed the financial pressure from Oliver’s decision, allowing him to make the trip across the Bass Straight. It’s also helped cover his cost of living. Oliver has been living at Ormond College for the last semester, an experience that has underlined his university experience so far.

“I wouldn’t have been able to come to Melbourne straight away without the Scholarship, my plan was to take a gap year to try and save that money. Receiving the scholarship right away meant I was able to get straight into my studies, which I really wanted to do. I’ve used the money to pay for my college accommodation,” he says. “Moving into college has been a huge change. There are two of us from Tasmania in the freshman year, amongst this group of people from all around the world! There’s also this culture where everyone is there to meet new people and experience new things, and there’s a sense that you’re all in it together, since everyone has come from so far afield.”

The CAS includes the option of a travel Grant. Oliver is now considering how he can supplement his Melbourne experience with some time overseas.

“I would love to go on exchange. I’ve only been overseas once before, to England, so I would like to do that as part of my course. I also would like to do an internship in second semester, perhaps at one of the Big 4 Banks. The scholarship helps take some of the pressure of something like that, as it covers that cost of living.”

Now at the end of his first semester, Oliver is planning a trip to New Zealand with some of his friends from College, along with a trip home to Tasmania.

Commerce Achievement Scholarship: The Bachelor of Commerce has a long history of attracting and rewarding excellence. If you apply for the University’s Bachelor of Commerce or Commerce Graduate Degree Packages through VTAC you may be eligible for our new Commerce Achievement Scholarship, offering a $24,000 living allowance over three years, and a travel grant valued at $2,500.”