Schools-university partnership program involving year 10 students is changing aspirations of first-generation potential university students in South Australia

Joy Penman, Mary Oliver

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3 Citations (Scopus)


The University of South Australia's First Generation Program aims to raise aspirations of secondary school students about university study. The program is a joint state-government, secondary school and university partnership, involving Year 10 students who are the first to begin the new South Australian Certificate of Education. The program was offered in the regional city of Whyalla in 2009 and 2010, with 57 and 40 students participating in the program, respectively. The aims of the program were to raise the awareness of school students about the regional university and enhance their aspirations toward university studies, specifically targeting first-generation rural students. The initiative follows one of the findings of the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education, which expressed concern at the declining participation in higher education within regional Australia. The Year 10 regional students from high schools were accompanied by their teachers while attending the on-campus program offered over six weeks. During these sessions students and teachers interacted with university staff while engaging in a structured program. University students worked as student mentors. The school students were required to actively participate and experience different areas of learning. The structured program began with an induction to the First Generation program by a facilitator. During the weeks that followed students learned about university studies and discipline programs by engaging in interactive tasks. Students completed a post-program questionnaire at the end of their final visit. The paper reports evaluation data on program content, student activities and feedback from postprogram surveys.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-498
Number of pages12
JournalThe International Journal of Learning
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • First generation program
  • Higher education
  • Raising aspirations
  • School-university partnership

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