Wooden blocks spelling out the word 'scholarship'

Why you should give scholarship applications a crack; Courtney’s story

At the end of my second year of university, I was asked by a friend if I had any advice for students going to uni for the first time. My answer was simple – apply for scholarships! I couldn’t stress enough how much receiving a scholarship helped me both personally and financially, giving me the ability to complete my studies without so many added stresses.  

But I never thought it would be me. Not until early in 2022, when I heard about the Meg Pursuer Communication Scholarship. It was described as a memorial scholarship funded by the Newcastle City Council to honour Meg Purser, “a passionate communications professional and female leader in the Newcastle community”. Meg was a woman who used her skills and talent in communication to make positive change within the City of Newcastle. As a communication student, her story really inspired me as I would love to be able to use my degree in News Media and Public Relations to make an equally positive impact.  

I came across the scholarship as I was preparing for another year living away from home to study. Moving to Newcastle as a new school leaver was quite a challenging experience and I saw this scholarship as an opportunity to make my second year that much easier.  

Courtney with Bob Purser, Meg’s father

But when I first found out I had been awarded the scholarship, it wasn’t the money that initially came to mind, or that I was most grateful for. Instead, the biggest gift the scholarship gave me was confidence. I felt like I had proven to myself that I was on the right track, that my dreams of being a journalist were possible and that there were people on my side who wanted me to succeed.  

I had the opportunity to meet said people later in the year at a media event where Meg’s family and Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes spoke with me about Meg’s passion and talent in her communication career, as well as her incredibly big heart outside of this. Her impact on the entire Newcastle community was so strong. Hearing how much Meg was missed made me so humbled to have received a scholarship in memory of her. Meg mentored many young people at the beginning of their careers and through this scholarship she continues to do so. 

The Meg Purser scholarship allowed Courtney to achieve high academic results

Aside from the confidence and hope the scholarship provided me, of course the financial benefit was also immensely helpful. Having some assistance with living expenses this year definitely took some of the pressure off and helped me focus more completely on my studies, allowing me to achieve high results while gaining industry experience in my chosen fields.  

I always thought of scholarships as a far-off idea. Something I was aware of but never thought I would have any contact with. But I’ve come to realise scholarships are there to support people like me.  

Courtney at the media event announcing the Meg Purser Scholarship

That’s why my biggest piece of advice I had for my friend, and for any Uni Newcastle student, is to apply for any and every scholarship you are eligible for. They aren’t a far-off concept, accessible only to the 99 ATAR achievers. They are there to inspire students like you and I. To give us the confidence, money and time to go after our dreams. 

To see the wide range of scholarships available at the university, and see which ones you can apply for, check out the list here

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