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Teen stays one jump ahead at University Open Day

University of Southern Queensland student Taylah Hoffman.
University of Southern Queensland student Taylah Hoffman.

Taylah Hoffman was in her final year of high school and unsure of what steps to take next.

Aged just 17 years, the Warwick schoolgirl had no idea what the future had in store, or how to turn her ambitions into action.

“I had two completely different career paths in mind, and I was just so confused and scared about the next step,” Taylah said.

“On one hand, I knew I wanted to work with young people, but I was also really interested in environmental science, and there just didn’t seem like there was anything out there beyond high school that would let me do both.”

That all changed one fateful day after an hour-long car ride to Toowoomba when Taylah, accompanied by her parents, attended the University of Southern Queensland’s Open Day.

“I remember my Mum opening the car door and it was like she was opening the door to my new future,” Taylah said.

“I arrived without anything, and I left with my entire life mapped out, and a scholarship!

I can’t describe how relieving and exciting that felt.”

Despite having already spent 13 years in classrooms, Taylah decided to study a Bachelor of Secondary Education, majoring in Environmental Earth Sciences.

"I didn’t know that was even an option,” Taylah said.

“To combine my passion for helping young people and teaching with Environmental Science.

And if I hadn’t attended Open Day, I probably never would have known that.”

That wasn’t the only surprise Taylah would receive at Open Day.

The soon-to-be Assumption College graduate left Toowoomba $20,000 richer after discovering she qualified for a UniSQ Academic Excellence Scholarship.

The scholarships are automatically awarded to eligible Year 12 students who put the University of Southern Queensland as their first preference on their QTAC application, and achieve the required ATAR.

"I went to a scholarships workshop while I was at Open Day and that’s when I found out about it.

My parents were like, ‘It’s a sign – you were meant to be here!’

I didn’t have to apply or dedicate any time to it; I just kept working hard at my studies and it all happened automatically."

The University of Southern Queensland will once again throw open its doors on Sunday (August 21) for a record-breaking Open Day.

With Toowoomba set to turn on perfect weather, hundreds of people have already registered for Sunday’s action-packed event, where they will experience the best of what the University has to offer.

“Make the effort to go,” Taylah said.

“Take it from me, you never know what you might find that could change your life.”

The University of Southern Queensland offers more than 160 programs – from Archaeology to Psychology, Animal Science to Space Science.

Open Day visitors will get a first-hand look into their chosen study areas with opportunities to meet their lecturers and tour the University’s state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities.

There will be live music, including a performance by Aussie producer Alice Ivy, food stalls, interactive displays, mini-lectures, panel discussions, and a host of other immersive experiences.

Visit for more details.

  • What: UniSQ Open Day, Toowoomba
  • When: Sunday, August 21
  • Time: 10am-2pm
  • Where: University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba campus