How I applied for the Skyline Program

Prabh Sandhu is a year 11 student from Mansfield Victoria. In 2020, he participated in the Rural Youth Ambassador program. This year he was accepted into the Skyline Program, which provides Prabh with financial and education support for his VCE studies.

How did you find out about Skyline?

I’m supposed to be in my last year at school but I went back a year level because of an injury I got in year 10. But that gave me time to see that there actually are scholarships and programs available to year 10 students, which I hadn’t known about the first time. When I came back to school, I applied for the Skyline Program and the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program. 

What is the Skyline Program? 

The skyline program supports gifted or academically talented students who are facing some kind of adversity, whether it be familial, financial or social. To apply for Skyline you can nominate yourself or your year level coordinator can. 

My own year 10 coordinator didn’t know for sure if I was facing the kind of adversity that would fit the application criteria, but I just gave it a go. We went through the application and saw what applied to my life, and we realised that familial disadvantage was applicable. So she said I’m going to nominate you. 

“The Skyline Program invests in three key areas vital for equipping high ability students who are gifted and/or academically talented and who display a growth mindset, leadership potential, and resilience in the face of their social and economic challenges, to find pathways to further study and employment, becoming leaders for change.

The Skyline endeavour aims to see students transition to tertiary education or career of choice and reach their full potential and become positive members of their communities.”

Find out more about the skyline program here.

Prabh is a year 11 student from Mansfield, Victoria.

What’s the application like?  

The program keeps broadening the number of students that they can take in. In my year about 82 students got it from about 170 applications. 

There are three stages to receiving the scholarship. After I was nominated I got an email with an application process that asked about the leadership skills I have, about the adversity I’m facing, and other things like that. 

After every stage I found out if I was shortlisted to keep going with the application process.

Because of Covid, we didn’t have to do the second stage – which is an IQ test. I was happy not to take the IQ test, but I knew it meant that the next stage, the interview, would be crucial. 

There were people from the Skyline Foundation,my school coordinator and me at the interview. They asked me a few questions, I think to see how I respond to social and political issues in the world. I guess to see how I might think about things broadly.

My first question was something along the lines of what’s the difference between living and existing? Which I wasn’t really expecting – it was so deep!

A month later my year 10 coordinator came up to me when I was playing around the basketball court. She told me to go check my emails (with a poker face on, not giving anything away).  Then the first thing on the email was a big CONGRATULATIONS!

I’m so thankful to be part of Skyline, because now that I’m in the program I can see why it’s so helpful. 

What’s the program like?

All the people in the program started with an orientation day, where they told us how it’s helped students in the past. Students have gone on to become things like surgeons or CEOs of large companies.  

They cover the cost of all our textbooks, stationary and all that sort of school stuff. Which is so handy, because it does cost a lot to get school books, calculators and everything else. I was able to get study guides and other resources that would help me get through VCE. 

Then, every term we have master classes. The last one I went to was a day long and it was all about motivation. We did a comprehensive motivation survey. That was really good, it showed videos about why we should be motivated and things like that. After that we looked at results in the masterclass, and found out why some people got certain results, and what actually motivates us as individuals. 

The day was really good. It opened people’s eyes to careers that they didn’t know existed or that they didn’t think about for their future. They were also going to drive us to Monash University for a tour and introduction to the uni but that couldn’t happen because of the lockdown. 

Some of the regular support they give is through tutoring classes that are run by students who excelled in a subject themselves. They’re usually second or third year uni students, so they did year 12 pretty recently. These tutoring classes happen every week, and go for an hour. We also can have 15 minutes one on one with the tutors if we need it. 

Yes, you should apply

I definitely recommend everyone should apply – because it’s a self nomination process. And apply even if you don’t know if you’re eligible because at least you’ll find out why you didn’t get it. I definitely think everyone should have a go, because growing up rural does mean we face some adversity in education. 

For anyone in year 10, the first thing I would say is have your eyes and ears open. I went through year 10 twice, and  the first time I was in year 10, I hadn’t heard about any of these kinds of programs. But when I came back to year 10 after my injury I kept my ears open for things like this. 

Everyone should have a go at applying, because you don’t really know what these programs are looking for, or if you meet the criteria. Be honest in your application because you might not even realise the things that are affecting your experience of education.

More Inspiring Rural Stories