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First- and second- generation design and engineering students: Experience, attainment and factors influencing them to attend university.

Hunt, C., Collins, B., Wardrop, A., Hutchings, M., Heaslip, V. and Pritchard, C., 2018. First- and second- generation design and engineering students: Experience, attainment and factors influencing them to attend university. Higher Education Research and Development, 37 (1), 30-43.

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First and second generation students FINAL submited after acceptance..pdf - Accepted Version
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DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2017.1342607


Challenges for students who are ‘first in family’ to attend university have been discussed within widening participation discourse. However, in the UK, ‘first in family’ or first-generation students have frequently been conflated with those experiencing poverty or from lower socio-economic groups. This research integrated survey data with assessment data from final-year design and engineering students in a UK university to examine students’ attainment, the influences on why students decide to attend university, and students’ experiences during their degree programmes. Analysis of the data showed variations in the reasons for first- and second-generation students wanting to go to university, particularly a significant difference in the influence of parents. First-generation students described significantly less parental influence on the decision to attend university than second- or subsequent-generation students. Smaller differences in students’ experiences and attainment in university were also noted. While first-generation students reported differences in study habits, their attainment was, on average, marginally higher than that of their peers. Building on others’ theoretical work, which suggests the importance of social capital within higher education, this research highlights the difference in social influences both on university application and expectations of university for those with and without a family history of tertiary education. Further research is needed to explore, in larger samples, whether the social influences on an individual’s perception of higher education are in turn shaped by whether or not their parents attended university, and further, what impact this may have, not only on degree outcomes but on the broader benefits typically associated with graduate experience.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Higher Education Research and Development on 28 June 2017, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords:attainment; fair access; first in family; social capital; widening participation
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:29387
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:22 Jun 2017 15:48
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:05


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