Charles Sturt’s Elite Athlete Program: support for success

Are you an elite athlete who also wants to get a degree? Charles Sturt University can help you be your best in both your sport and your studies with our elite athlete program.

Charles Sturt University is a member of the Elite Athlete Friendly University Network, and proudly supports elite and pre-elite athletes, elite sports personnel and performers who choose to study with us.

Why do elite athletes thrive at Charles Sturt?

Kate Staniforth runs the Elite Athlete Program and explained what we offer.

“The elite athlete program offers tailored support so that student athletes can combine study with their sporting commitments – helping them succeed at both. We have athletes from across many sports – from footy to cycling, rugby to skiing – studying a range of courses.

“I think at Charles Sturt we offer something quite unique to elite athletes as we focus on treating each student athlete as an individual with specific needs. We aim to give them personalised support and the flexibility to make their study work for them.

“A lot of our elite athletes choose to study online, and we’re one of Australia’s most experienced online universities. It makes it a lot easier for them to work around their training and competition schedule.”

What support is available to elite athletes?

The Elite Athlete Program includes a range of practical options for combining sport and study. If you are an elite athlete, you can:

  • study your course online
  • sit exams in convenient locations
  • get assignment extensions around sporting schedules
  • access personalised study plans
  • receive academic tutorial support
  • join orientation workshops
  • use Charles Sturt gyms and sporting facilities for free
  • receive sporting apparel
  • apply for sports travel grants

So how does that work in practice?

Amisha Edwards, a student liaison officer at Charles Sturt University, recently hosted an orientation session at the Sydney Swans’ headquarters.

“With several Swans players studying online with us, it was a great opportunity to meet face to face with them and run a session where someone from the support team could answer all their questions.

“There were five players in the session – including Harrison Marsh and Robbie Fox – all studying different degrees, from business to exercise science. Some were just starting out on their studies, while others came for a refresher. I gave them a run-through of our online learning portal, and how to access library resources online (not all were aware that at Charles Sturt, students can order books from the library to be posted to them for free).

“It was good for the younger players, straight out of high school, to get their questions answered about that step up to uni study and the different ways of doing things. And we could talk about specific practicalities.”

Do elite athletes have to travel to get support?

Our elite athlete support is available to all athletes, wherever they may be and whichever degree they are studying. As Amisha explained, regular contact with athletes happens whenever they need it.

“I’ve also done Skype sessions with elite athletes where geography and timing prevents a face-to-face meeting. I give a presentation on how online learning with us works, then we’ll talk about their particular needs and queries. These one-on-one sessions can really be very personalised to the athlete’s degree and their study circumstances.

“They can also request follow-ups whenever they feel the need, or ask us questions via email or on the phone.”

Charles Sturt sports success

Charles Sturt University has a rich sporting heritage. Aussie legend Kurt Fearnley is an alumnus and a Pro-Chancellor of the university. And we’ve helped many elite athletes achieve their goals – from Olympic gold medal winners such as Alicia Quirk to Commonwealth Games victors like Kaarle McCulloch.

Harry Cunningham of the Sydney Swans is another student who receives support through the elite athlete program.

“I’m grateful for not only the opportunity to study at Charles Sturt but also for the enormous amount of support and flexibility that the uni has provided me to be able to pursue study throughout my sporting career.”

Are you game?

If you’re an elite athlete, find out more about how we can help you succeed. At Charles Sturt University, you can achieve your sporting goals while securing your future with a degree, whether that be in exercise and sports sciences, business, teaching or any other subject area.