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‘Some people might say I'm thriving but … ’: non-traditional students' experiences of university

By Anna-Maria Mueleman, Robyne Garrett, Alison Wrench and Sharron King

Abstract

The expansion of neo-liberal policies\u27 framing higher education has contributed to an increase in participation rates of students from non-traditional backgrounds. While an increase of a wider range of students might be seen as contributing to a more just and equitable higher education system, research has shown that broadening entry points does not necessarily ensure inclusion or positive experience for these students. This research investigated the experiences of first in family, rural and international students as they transitioned into their first year of university. Focus group interviews and surveys were used to collect data. Using Bourdieu\u27s theory of field, habitus and capital as well as Weiss\u27s dimensions of loneliness findings illuminate a number of poignant experiences for non-traditional students. We suggest that facilitating the transition for non-traditional students might require a cultural change by universities and a move away from the notion that the students need to ‘adapt’ to university. Rather, the evolving university might provide for increasingly diverse student cohorts by embracing their habitus and unique features

Topics: Universities and colleges, Students, Well-being
Publisher: International Journal of Inclusive Education
Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:apo.org.au:62547
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