Working Class Disrupters
This year 51% of university enrolments were students who are the first in their family to go to university. These are mainly working class kids who are taking advantage of opportunities.
The attrition rate is high. Recent research has shown that nearly 50% of first year students consider dropping out and 18% do.
As a working class kid who was the first in my family to go to university I had no idea. Eight hours of lectures and a few tutorials?? Piece. Of. Cake.
My parents were proud of me but didn’t know what to ask. I was out of my depth and didn’t know what to tell them.
I pretended and tried and failed. And eventually succeeded.
If you are the first in your family to go to university you WILL have more to learn than students whose families have been to university. It WILL be harder for you.
Universities are trying to help First in Family students to settle in and focus on academic studies, but First in Family students find it difficult to know what to do or what to ask without feeling stupid.
There is a First In Families website based on research done by Sarah O’Shea. Her research findings have been turned into tips for success and ideas that you can follow up with lecturers, counsellors and student services… without feeling stupid.
- Go to the The First in Families site for some good tips.
- Pick a university that focuses providing excellent support to students. In WA those are Notre Dame University and Edith Cowan.
- When you get there contact lecturers and student services staff. It is their job to help you to succeed.
- Find a mentor. It might be a second year student, or a family friend or a member of your uni’s alumni. They will help you to cope and succeed.
If you are the first in your family to go to uni you will find it academically challenging, a social minefield and expensive.
It can also be an awakening to new worlds of opportunity. Maybe it’s time to bite off more than you can chew.
There is more to discover than you can imagine.