Deakin Engagement and Access Program

We collaborate with schools to widen participation in higher education through the Deakin Engagement and Access Program (DEAP). Through a coordinated program of activities from Grade 3 to Year 12, DEAP builds on students' aspirations and awareness to introduce university as a desirable and achievable pathway. DEAP partner schools are located in Melbourne, Geelong and the Barwon South Western Region.

DEAP objectives

DEAP aims to:

  • support aspirations and attainment for higher education, inspiring students to both consider and access university as a viable pathway
  • engage parents and carers with the aim of supporting families' understanding of and aspirations for higher education
  • familiarise students with university life and pathways to university, including VTAC's Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS)
  • support schools in preparing students for the transition to university and connecting with transition programs at Deakin University
  • support the development of students' self-efficacy, enhancing educational engagement and achievement.

This program is made possible thanks to the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program funding provided by the Commonwealth of Australia.

DEAP activities

Primary schools

We partner with primary schools because educational and career aspirations are shaped by students' self-efficacy during their formative years. These partnerships involve a range of early interventions that support self-efficacy, through highly creative and engaging activities.

Grade 3−6: Write your future

Deakin education students help run creative writing activities in schools, enhancing students’ literacy skills and encouraging aspirations.

Grade 4: Community voices

Students identify their strengths and interests, and use these to brainstorm possible future pathways.

Grade 5: Make your own mind 

Through creative modelling, students identify unhelpful thought patterns and practice replacing these with thoughts that affirm their strengths and abilities.

Grade 6: Presiding over the possibilities

Using the practice of law, students recognise their competency in a range of skills, and practice these in a mock court case.

Secondary schools

DEAP's partnerships with secondary schools entail a range of on-campus and in-school activities that support students' aspirations for, and access to, higher education.

Year 7 − Mission possible

Students will apply future work skills to complete a Mission Possible in small groups around the campus.

Year 8 − Community day

Students explore the campus and learn about diversity through community themed activities.

Year 9 − FutureME

A series of workshops and conversations between Year 9 students and Deakin staff, enabling students to think about their place in the future world of work, run with the Foundation for Young Australians.

Information for staff wishing to volunteer

Year 10 − Deakin Uni discovery day

Students visit the campus and discover what life at university is all about.

Year 11 − In Conversation 

Students have the opportunity to explore three different topics of importance in VCE, learning from current Deakin University students’ experiences in a relaxed and meaningful way.

Year 12 − Special Entry Access Scheme and scholarships workshop 

The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre (VTAC) Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) aims to make the university selection process fairer for students who have experienced circumstances that have impacted their education. All students at DEAP partner schools are eligible under at least one category.  With the support of Deakin staff and students, participants learn how to prepare SEAS and scholarship applications.

Youth Advisory Council

The DEAP team also works with Geelong region primary and secondary schools underrepresented in higher education to support access to university through the DEAP Youth Advisory Council (YAC).

School and university student members of the YAC investigate issues affecting access to education. The model recognises young people as experts on complex youth issues and supports student voice and collaboration with community leaders to create social change.

Community partnerships

SEAS for professionals

The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) is for higher education applicants who have experienced circumstances that have affected their education. In this presentation, professionals working with young people get help understanding SEAS, and develop their ability to support students' SEAS applications.

Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME)

AIME links Indigenous secondary school students to universities through outreach and personal mentoring.

Ardoch Youth Foundation

The partnership supports Geelong schools through the Ardoch Literacy Buddies Program (Grade 6) as well as the Learning Through Lunch program. The programs support literacy, social and life skills which support students’ capacity for full participation in community and professional life.


The collaboration with headspace for the Grade 5 activity provides an additional knowledge base that focuses on cognitive skill development as an important part of building aspiration.

Geelong Regional Libraries

Supports students’ access to local libraries and offers a range of workshops for schools.

The Smith Family

Deakin University partners with The Smith Family, through its Learning for Life Program in order to pursue our common commitment to improving educational opportunities for young Australians from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Foundation for Young Australians

Deakin Partners with the Foundation for Young Australians to deliver the FutureMe programme, helping Year 9 students to imagine themselves in the Future World of Work.

Contact us

Melissa Lowe
Team Leader, Deakin Engagement and Access Program (DEAP) 
+61 3 927 87817 
Email Melissa Lowe