In an increasingly complex landscape of diversification and massification, universities are grappling with challenges of student attrition. This paper presents findings from a project investigating how students from low socio-economic backgrounds at a regional Australian university perceive challenges and supports associated with retention and success. Twenty-seven students received intensive one-to-one support from a Faculty-embedded ‘academic advisor’, and reflected on this support, their overall student experience, and strategies to enhance student success. Students identified a range of challenges that they experienced across an academic year (personal circumstances, lack of preparedness for university study, timely access to support, course/programme difficulties) and what worked well for them (academic advisor, University support services, growing confidence in self as competent student, peer support). A range of strategies for enhancing student success were identified by students, namely consistency across teaching design and delivery, transparency of delivery modes, mandatory orientation, access to a dedicated academic advisor, and increased peer connectedness. The applicability and viability of the proposed strategies within current higher education settings are explored.
SOURCE: Christina Sadowski, Margaret Stewart & Mika Pediaditis, “Pathway to success: using students’ insights and perspectives to improve retention and success for university students from low socioeconomic (LSE) backgrounds”, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Published online 24 Aug 2017
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