• what is activate?

    Activate is a program of Trinity College Queensland offering recent school leavers an exciting opportunity
    to experience learning, growth, community and fun.

  • why choose activate?

    Learning | Growth | Community | Fun

    Why ACTIVATEThe ACTIVATE program
  • activate your application

    Activate is a one-year, 3-day per week program offered by
    Trinity College Queensland for recent school-leavers


Just what you’re looking for

‘Activate’ is offered by Trinity College Queensland for school-leavers and those within the age range of initial tertiary study (approximately 18-23 – though you don’t have to be a student to come and do the program!) It provides an enjoyable opportunity to experience purposeful learning and spiritual growth in the context of a vibrant Christian community.

Choose your option from the Activate suite . .

ACTIVATE  A jam-packed gap-year experience for high-capacity students offering the opportunity to complete a Diploma of Ministry (the equivalent of a full-time study load) and enjoy a vibrant and diverse set of additional activities including an overseas mission exposure trip. Our experience suggests students will have little spare time for part-time work, but if they have the means to support themselves for the year, will have a cracker time.

ACTIVATE DEEP  Students undertake a one-year Diploma of Ministry and participate in only some of the additional activities to assist with their personal formation. This allows students to focus on their academic studies, maximise their learning and successfully finish the year with a diploma.

ACTIVATE LIFE  A classic, academically-lighter Gap Year program. Lots of fun and engaging activities with access to quality theological education but without the demand of stressful assessment. Students audit their subjects (participate in classes but are not required to complete the assessment) and will be issued a Trinity Activate Certificate (non-accredited) at the end of the year. There will be plenty of time left for going to the beach and catching up with friends.

ACTIVATE FLEX  Two-year program undertaken in partnership with a local church which provides a part-time ministry placement to compliment part-time study and the personal formation resulting from the Activate program. Students still complete a Diploma in Ministry, but across two years, studying at a half-time load. This study load might also suit people who need to support themselves by working part-time whilst completing the Activate Program, rather than doing the ministry placement.

Activating your Mind

Activate is designed to help students develop a firm foundation in biblical literacy and Christian ideas, from which they can ask and explore challenging questions, be equipped to live as a Christian in a changing world and pursue life with a God-centred vision of relationship, community, vocation and mission.

Most of the Activate streams allow students to complete an entire Diploma of Ministry, taught by the world-class faculty at Trinity College Queensland. This requires completing four subjects each semester. The subjects are taught across two days each week (Tuesday and Wednesday) with some being offered in intensive mode (all lectures are delivered in one week, with readings and assignments completed in the months after the lectures). One subject is associated with the mission trip.

One of the advantages of Activate is that it introduces students to university study in a caring and supportive environment. Instead of being an unknown student in a large university, the staff and students of Trinity will do everything they can to assist you with your learning. However, prospective students should be aware that completing a Diploma of Ministry represents a full-time study load. This will take up a good portion of your time each week.

There is also an option to audit the courses. This means that students undertake all classes and learning activities but will not be required to submit the assessment and will not be eligible for a Diploma of Ministry. On completion of the subjects, auditing students will receive the Trinity Activate Certificate.

Keep in mind that students completing the Diploma of Ministry who continue to further tertiary studies are likely (depending on their course) to be able to use some of the Diploma subjects as credit towards course electives. For example, in a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland, students can do at least two electives in non-science areas. If you wish to ultimately pursue a Bachelor of Ministry, the Diploma counts fully as the first year of the three-year bachelor degree.

Program summary

Experience powerful learning

Throughout the year students will complete:

  • Diploma of Ministry (or audit the equivalent study units)
  • Subjects include: Introduction to New Testament, Introduction to Old Testament, Introduction to Christian Leadership, Introduction to Christian thought, Spirituality for 21st Century Disciples, Beyond Sunday, Mission Theory, Mission Practice
  • Accredited First Aid Course
  • Mental-health First Aid Course
  • Barista Course
  • Financial Budgeting/Study Skills/Time Management Program

Other features of the program

  • Short-term mission exposure trip
  • Serving in local missions with the homeless, oppressed and disadvantaged
  • Individual mentoring for participants
  • Informal times of prayer, worship and Bible study
  • Community lunches
  • Camping experiences
  • Beach Trips, Art Galleries and Mountain Climbs

Some practical considerations

  • 3-day per week College program (Monday to Wednesday) allowing students 2 days to complete readings and work on assignments
  • Accommodation is available on-site through Raymont Residential College.

Simon Gomersall
Program Director

Program Director

A little about Simon Gomersall

Simon Gomersall has extensive experience working with young people. He has served in positions as a high school teacher in various centres around Queensland, a UC youth worker, a school Chaplain at Somerville House in South Brisbane, and pastor at Toowong Uniting Church. He has post-graduate qualifications in Education and Theology.

Why Activate

Gap year research

In 2009-2010, nearly 1 in 4 young Australians took a gap year. Remarkably, this figure is more than double what it was just 10 years prior, and is six times what it was in the mid-1970’s. The number of students taking a gap year continues to explode, and for good reason. Study after study reports that gap year students

  • have greater clarity and motivation in pursuing further academic study,
  • benefit from increased employability and better career satisfaction, as well as
  • gain a broader perspective on life through diverse social and cultural experiences that non-gap-year students typically miss out on.

Parents often worry when their teenager expresses the desire to take a ‘year off’ between high school and university, fearing that they will fail to return to school and end up with no degree and a low paying dead-end job. However, a recent study carried out by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) found the opposite to be true. Students who chose to work or travel after high school were more likely to show a greater interest in returning to school after their time off, than be opposed to it.

Assessing your goals

Sydney University researcher Andrew P. Martin whose work on the topic has been published in the US Journal of Higher Education, found in 2012 that Australian students who had taken a gap year as a result of low academic performance and motivation in high school were more motivated during their college years than those who had not taken a gap year. He states:

In general, taking a gap year can give students time to identify and explore their goals. Research indicates that gap-takers are generally happier, have wider interests and are able to socialize more easily with a diverse range of people. Source

There is growing agreement amongst social scientists that the pressures on young people today are more intense than those experienced by previous generations. When university tuition equates to the cost of a new small car . . . every year, the pressure to make correct choices can seem overwhelming. Too many choices! What course to do? Which University will suit best? So many students step seamlessly from the narrow confines of the school classroom (focussed almost exclusively on entering tertiary study) into an even narrower, vocationally defined, university course feeling strangely unsettled about having made study choices so early, limiting their future options. This has led one college at Harvard University to actively encourage students to “defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work or spend time in another meaningful way.”

Faced with the fast pace of growing up today, some students are clearly distressed, engaging in binge drinking and other self-destructive behaviours. Counselling services of secondary schools and colleges have expanded in response to greatly increased demand. It is common to encounter even the most successful students, who have won all the “prizes,” stepping back and wondering if it was all worth it. Professionals in their thirties and forties – physicians, lawyers, academics, business people and others – sometimes give the impression that they are dazed survivors of some bewildering life-long boot-camp. Some say they ended up in their profession because of someone else’s expectations, or that they simply drifted into it without pausing to think whether they really loved their work. Often they say they missed their youth entirely, never living in the present, always pursuing some ill-defined future goal. Source

For more than four decades, Harvard University has recommended the full benefit of a “time-off” by postponing entrance to college for a year, indeed, proposing it in the letter of admission. Harvard’s daily student newspaper, The Crimson, reported in 2000 that students who had taken a year off found the experience “so valuable that they would advise all Harvard students to consider it.” Harvard’s overall graduation rate of 97 percent is among the highest in the nation, perhaps in part because so many students take time off.


Some things to consider

What will activate cost?

Activate is easily the best-value Gap Year program available in Australia!

In summary, there is a fixed tuition cost for the Diploma of Ministry. This is approximately $13000 for one year’s full-time study ($12928 in 2018). All of this can be covered using fee-help, which allows students to study for no up-front cost. Instead of paying fees now, the government creates a student loan that the student begins to pay back once their income reaches a certain threshold. See the explanation below for more detail. This cost includes all theological tuition fees, but not the cost of text books for study, meals (except for community lunches, when they occur), accommodation or transport.

However, the supplementary Activate activities and courses (including an overseas mission exposure trip) cost many thousands of additional dollars. Trinity College Queensland significantly subsidises this expense so that students are only charged between $1000 and $1500, depending on which stream they choose. Further to this, students participating in the Activate Life stream, which involves auditing classes, operate under a different funding structure. Because no subsidies are received back from the government, the cost has to be covered by the student. The schedule of costs for the Activate Program is listed below.

Activate Stream & Academic Cost Additional Cost (AUD) Total Cost (AUD) with Fee-Help
Activate (full program) Academic Cost = $13000 ($0 if using Fee-Help) $1500 $1500
Activate Deep Academic Cost = $13000 ($0 if using Fee-Help) $1000 $1000
Activate Life Academic Cost = $2400 (8 x $300 auditing costs) $1500 $3900 (no Fee-Help available)
Activate Flex Academic Cost = $6500/yr ($0 if using Fee-Help) Depends on activities chosen Depends on activities chosen

These costs include theological tuition fees, all additional courses (barista, safe driving, first aid, etc) and the overseas mission trip. The costs do not include text books for study, meals (except for community lunches, when they occur), accommodation or transport.

Can I access Fee Help?

Fee Help is available for students undertaking the Diploma of Ministry. Fee Help is a Commonwealth Government funded loan to help-eligible, fee-paying students remunerate their tuition fees. That means students can undertake courses where the tuition fees for higher education courses will be temporarily paid for by the government up to a certain collective limit. In 2017 the loan limit for individuals is just above $100000. You start repaying your HELP debt through the taxation system once your repayment income is above the compulsory repayment threshold ($54869 in 2016/2017) and indexed according to the level of income (starting at 4% of your income). The Activate (Trinity College Queensland) Diploma of Ministry allows students to have 100% of their tuition costs assigned to their fee help loan. If Students wish to, they can alternatively pay the fees upfront or per semester. Here is more information regarding loan limits and eligibility.

What is the Activate Weekly Program?

Activate will run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the TCQ academic year. Students may, at times, be encouraged to participate in social or service activities outside these days, but most of the program will be conducted in this first part of the week. All academic classes at TCQ are scheduled on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Other courses, speakers, workshops, and activities associated with the Activate program will normally be scheduled on a Monday. Students are therefore free on Thursdays, Fridays and the weekends to get a part time job, to serve in their local church, to spend more time on their studies or simply chill out.

Are there accommodation options?

Students are expected to organise their own accommodation for the duration of the Activate program. For students from outside Brisbane, we strongly recommend Raymont Residential College which is on the same site as Trinity College Queensland and contains students studying at a variety of educational institutions (University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Griffith University).

Raymont Residential College

The college is conveniently located close to major shops, transportation routes, parklands and is a short walk from Coronation Drive with bikeways leading into the city and Southbank. Under the experienced eye of Principal, Richard Nissel, Raymont Residential College offers a well-developed program of student pastoral care. Fees are $410/week for a single room, including all meals, wi-fi, tutorials, social activities and much more.

For more information phone 07 33779903 or email admin@raymont.com.au Website http://raymont.com.au/

Other Accommodation Options:

  1. City Link Guest House 21 Valentine St Toowong (5 minute walk) Basic student rooms. Phone: 07 38709340 Website: http://www.citylinkguesthouse.com.au
  2. There are numerous private boarding accommodation facilities in and around Toowong, Auchenflower and St Lucia with students sharing a house or unit. Various websites will provide details of different options. For example:

Activate Your Application

How do I Apply for Activate

Complete the Activate application form (see link below) and send it to us at Activate c/- Trinity College Queensland, GPO Box 674 Brisbane QLD 4001. Alternatively you can email it to us at: simon.gomersall@trinity.qld.edu.au

If you are an overseas student, you will need to use a different form to this one. Please contact us at the above email address.

What will happen once I submit my application form?

  • We will send you an email letting you know we have received your application
  • We will contact your referees
  • We will arrange a time for you to come in for an interview, in person if you are local, via skype or phone if you live remotely. The interview gives you a chance to meet some staff, have a look around the college and ask any questions you might have. Parents and guardians are welcome to come along too. It’s up to you.
  • Within a week of the interview we will contact you regarding the outcome of the application process

Contact Trinity College Queensland

Contact us


For more information about the Activate Program or other courses and activities at Trinity College Queensland, please register using the online form. Trinity College Queensland is a ministry of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Phone number

+61 07-3377 9950

Office hours

8:30am-5pm Monday-Friday

Postal address

Trinity College Queensland
GPO Box 674 Brisbane QLD 4001

Campus address

Uniting Church Centre
60 Bayliss Street, Auchenflower, QLD 4066.

Get in touch

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