We’ve all seen our fair share of hysterical parodies on the American university experience to secretly wish we’d packed up and moved to study. In Australia, university can often seem more of a transitional period than an all-out experience. It’s hard to think there’s anything really missing when we didn’t think we had the option for something different.

The Australian National University (ANU) offers Australian youths that something different. It’s the leading university in Australia and yet it’s difficult for some high schoolers to picture themselves there because what it offers is above and beyond the normal scope of an Australian uni. Attending ANU means the opportunity for a fully college immersion experience. We’re talking living on campus, dorm life, sports intramural teams, a college town vibe, and honestly so much more.

  “Living at college opens you to a whole other world beyond high school – you meet people from the city and the country, from interstate and overseas, and even people who lived down the road from you during school who you didn’t even know,” says Anna McNee, an ANU student who moved from Sydney to Canberra for her degree a few years ago.

Living on campus means you’re surrounded by the same like-minded students, not mum and dad wondering if you’ll make your bed once in a while. Dorm life means study sessions that might end up just meaning pizza party in the library. It’s easier to form a support system when like-minded people constantly surround you, and it’s easier to bounce ideas off of people whose goals are so very different from yours.

ANU fosters independence. The University’s resources are some of the best in the country and they advocate your personal growth without any hindrance from potential familial pressure or negative environment situations. Sometimes, it can be difficult to grow into who you’re meant to when you stay in the same place for middle school then high school and then uni studies. Travellers can especially understand how important it is to move in order to discover more about you.

“College is also a fantastic mid-point between living with your parents and being thrown into the real world, because there’s such a fantastic pastoral and mental health support network that we all have ready access to,” says Anna.

“There are also loads of opportunities to get involved in the college and ANU community, such as through sport, arts, philanthropy, and leadership positions. It’s a fabulous way to get involved in university life as a whole, and make your experience at uni as fulfilling as possible.”

Rather than the in-and-out nature of commuting to uni every day, living on campus at ANU allows you to squeeze as much out of your degree as possible, academically, socially, physically and emotionally. You become a part of a community based on a desire to succeed and an instinct to support each other. It’s an opportunity to work hard, play hard and discover who you are along the way.

“College allows you to grow into someone you want to be, because you aren’t constrained by the way people perceived you in high school.”