Affordances and Engagement: The Shaping of Adults' Initial Experiences of Higher Education
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Issues of retention in higher education are very much on the mind of the Australian government and its universities. This paper proposes that a complex of factors shapes adult students' successful transition to higher education not solely those comprising the support afforded by the university. Instead, there is a rich and related interdependence between what the university and other forms of support (e.g. family, friends) affords and the agency, capacity and engagement of students. There are elements of particular personal circumstances that also shape the kinds of support these students can access, how they engage with what is afforded and then construe and make judgements about their experiences. Consequently, in understanding and promoting the successful transition of adult students into higher education requires a consideration of the students' experiences and access to support outside of university and their previous experiences as well as what is afforded by the university. However, rather than general prescriptions these complex of factors likely play out in quite different ways across a student cohort, thereby reinforcing the individual processes that comprise these transitions. Understanding the transition to higher education is premised on interdependence between the affordances of the universities and other and individuals' engagement with what is afforded.
Vocational Learning: Transitions, Interrelationships. Partnerships and Sustainable Futures
© 2005 Australian Academic Press. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Use hypertext link to access the publishers website.