As exciting as starting the journey of higher education is, it can also be daunting. Not only for school leavers moving away from home for the first time, but also for supportive parents.
For first year ICMS Bachelor of Business (Sports Management) student Tahlee van Gool and her mother, Kellie van Gool, their choice of ICMS was the best decision for them. It resulted in not only a fantastic and memorable first year of college, but an internship opportunity at Disney World in Florida for seven months of Tahlee’s second year of study as part of the ICMS Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program.
The mother and daughter duo spoke at the ICMS Parent Information Evening (watch a recording of the event here) that took place at the Northern Beaches campus on 24 November. The evening serves to help parents learn all they need to know about how to support their child through the transition from school to higher education at ICMS.
Tahlee and Kellie shared how they researched many higher education institutes before confirming their instinctive first choice of the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS).
“When the opportunity came around to attend virtual open days, I attended six different ones with my mum online. However, there was only one that stuck out and that was ICMS,” Tahlee said.
“When I first set foot into the ‘castle on the hill’ as a year 12 student, on a mission to decide where I was going to challenge myself, find myself and change myself, something just clicked. It was one of those moments where you can’t really pinpoint in the moment, but on reflecting upon this year, I can say it was a feeling of belonging.”
Tahlee listed ICMS as her first preference with UAC and received an ICMS Professional Scholarship. She settled into on-campus accommodation before swiftly becoming immersed in student life.
“Fast forward nine months, and I have completed my first year of my bachelor degree. ICMS applies a learning and teaching philosophy experience that is both relevant and contemporary to the workplace. I have thoroughly enjoyed all my business and sport subjects, who are taught by professionals surrounded by like-minded people,” she said.
“The small classes have allowed me to thrive and learn through my passion and creativity, allowing me to strengthen my relationships with teachers and fellow students. You are thought of as more than a number, where there is a genuine emphasis on personal skill development.”
She particularly enjoyed the freedom of ICMS’ two day timetable, socialising with students from both Australia and around the world, and getting actively involved in campus sports and student life. Heading into her second year, she is a senior student ambassador, Peer Assisted Learner volunteer, Resident Leader and a member of the SRC.
“These roles have increased my confidence and maturity, setting me up for my future degree. And the fact that classes are only two days a week for just over two and a half years is a huge ICMS difference. It is extremely flexible in the sense of having a healthy lifestyle of work, social, and university balance.”
Tahlee lived in on-campus accommodation at ‘the castle on the hill’ and while she “loved every minute of it. Having to only walk 10 minutes to the beach, just after class, is the dream”, it would be only natural for her mother to worry in her first year out of the family home.
However, Kellie said, from the very beginning she had no worries about how her daughter would settle in and be safe as she spread her wings.
“As her parents, we have loved hearing how she has immersed herself into college life. The experience of living away from home has been very rewarding for her and I haven’t had to worry too much about her as I know she is safe, and that she has support from staff and other campus students. Her wonderful ICMS friends, including the regional and international students, are her new extended family,” Kellie said.
“Tahlee is making fantastic memories on campus with the students at the events ICMS hold. We have enjoyed hearing how she has rubbed shoulders and had conversations with some high-profile public figures such as Alex Perry while attending the Masterclass events. I feel incredibly grateful that we are able to support and share in this wonderful journey of college life alongside Tahlee and I look forward to seeing where her time here takes her.”
Tahlee is the first in her family to embark on tertiary education and Kellie explained how the initially overwhelming process to choose a higher education was made easier by the ICMS personal admission processes. This was done during the Covid-19 pandemic, but while Open Days and interviews were at that time virtual, the support and guidance from ICMS was very real.
“I will admit I knew nothing of the process to get into college as no one in our family had ever applied before so I was on a learning curve to try and navigate the process so that I could be there to offer support and guidance,” Kellie said.
“I have found everyone at ICMS and on campus approachable, warm, authentic and generous with their time. I was particularly impressed that I was assured by staff who said that if I have any questions I could contact them and contact them I did, on a public holiday, I might add. To my surprise I received a text message saying they will call me within the hour which I appreciated as this helped put the niggling query I had to rest.”
Tahlee is one of four ICMS students who will complete their industry training next year at ICMS international partner Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
“It is so exciting that I can travel overseas to work for one of the world’s biggest entertainment companies as part of my degree. This opportunity is allowing me to work the attractions at one of Disney’s four parks, where I have the second role of working for ESPN Wide World of Sports. This whole process, in relation to the Work integrated learning team have been so exciting, supportive, and encouraging,” Tahlee said.
“Attending ICMS has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
Her family will be joining her a few months into her industry training, which is a minimum 600 hours built into every ICMS degree.
“I feel incredibly grateful that we are able to support and share in this wonderful journey of college life alongside Tahlee and I look forward to seeing where her time here takes her,” Kellie said.
“For now, we know it will take her to America for seven months where we will join her for a short bit. I am not sure who is more excited. Supporting your child on making a big decision isn’t easy. All I can say is that ICMS was the best decision, and the right decision for Tahlee.”
For more information on ICMS, click here.
For more information on the ICMS Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Program, click here.