Two John Paul College students are still in shock after being offered more than $100,000 worth of scholarships between them.

Head boy Robbie Wong-Toi, 17, and prefect Priya Patel, 17, have each been offered a $45,000 scholarship from the University of Otago and a $20,000 scholarship from the University of Auckland.

The pair said receiving the scholarships still felt surreal.

"We were told at the beginning of October but I still can't believe it. It was all a bit overwhelming, I didn't know how to react," Priya said.


"It was quite a nervous wait but I knew I had done everything I could so the end result was out of my hands," Robbie said.

Both Priya and Robbie want to study health science, with the aim of becoming doctors.

"I have been fortunate to grow up with parents in the health industry and so has Priya. We both genuinely love helping people which is why I think we've gravitated towards this career path," Robbie said.

"I think also it says a lot about our school and how it breeds students capable of competing with all the top private schools for these prestigious scholarships."

Robbie and Priya agreed it was important school leavers capitalised on scholarship opportunities.

"It's easy to fall into the mindset that only students from private schools in big cities have a chance at getting these scholarships but that's not the case," Robbie said.

"There's no harm in trying - obviously you won't get it if you don't apply but if you do, you have a chance," Priya said.

But these high achievers are not the only Rotorua students impressing the country's tertiary institutes.

Dozens of school leavers across the city's five high schools have already received scholarships, with more yet to be announced.

Rotorua Girls' High School deputy head girl Chantelle Cobby landed two scholarships, one for $20,000 from the University of Auckland and one for $25,000 from the University of Waikato.

Priya Patel, 17, (left) and Robbie Wong-Toi, 17, don't need to worry about university costs after receiving two major scholarships each. PHOTO/BEN FRASER
Priya Patel, 17, (left) and Robbie Wong-Toi, 17, don't need to worry about university costs after receiving two major scholarships each. PHOTO/BEN FRASER

"It felt pretty amazing to get not just one but two big scholarships, I definitely wasn't expecting it," Chantelle said.

"It's such an honour, I really love working hard and doing things for our community and while I don't do it for any other reason than to help, it's nice to have this recognition."

Chantelle wants to study a Bachelor of Social Science and after receiving her scholarships has decided to go to the University of Waikato.

"It was a little intimidating applying for these big scholarships because you have no idea what you're up against but I would urge others to apply because you have nothing to lose and you never know what you're going to get out of it."

Western Heights High School student Hannah Garwood had to read her acceptance letters a few times before believing she had won scholarships for $45,000 and $20,000.

"I just couldn't believe it. I thought I must have been reading it wrong," she laughed.

Hannah said she wanted to study health science and was tossing up between Otago and Auckland universities.

"Receiving the scholarship for Otago definitely was the decider for me but it was cool to get a scholarship for both universities."

Rotorua student scholarship recipients:
Robbie Wong-Toi
Priya Patel
Chantelle Cobby
Jordyn Tereu
Savani Kannangara
Courtney Wiggins
Xianar Pike
Gabrielle Jones
Zahli Tukapua
Shayne Jacobs-Cooke
Hannah Garwood
Phoebe Johnston
Bailey Morrison
Sara Whibley
Kuratea Broughton
Michael Alcantara
Jenny Seok
Briar Sharples
Hannah Heasman
Shanaia King
Nicole Mossman-Young
Todd Murray
Phoebe Owen
Valerie Nahu
Shadrach Hargreaves
Eric Lee
Renee Veysi
Tyla Jansen Van Nieuwenhuizen
Melanie Curry
*list based on schools who replied to the Rotorua Daily Post's request.