8th July, 2010 Abstract

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Bernadette Podesta-Meaney

ULTRIS Research Report 2010

Under Pressure:

The First Year Experience of Mature Age Students

Bernadette Podestà-Meaney

University of Western Australia

8th July, 2010

Over the last thirty years the proportion of mature age students within the University of Western Australia’s (known hereafter as UWA) student population has been growing, and with it the need to accommodate the issues and embrace the advantages of their presence. Through the distribution of surveys to 112 Mature Age Students throughout various faculties within the UWA, and the carrying out of interviews, numerous data on both qualitative and quantitative factors were collected. These surveys/interviews were designed to garner what most influences Mature Age students and how they perceive university life. Thus far this research further backs the previous study conducted in 1980 by Barrett and Powell, in that the chief concerns among Mature Age Students are academic performance and financial security. The combined data of both the surveys and the interviews indicate that, for the majority, social integration is neither sort nor fretted over. Participants were also asked to recommend avenues of improvement to the UWA support programs and facilities. This study contributes to the growing body of literature dedicated to Mature Age students and may assist in designing future support programs, or improving the existing ones.

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