Bridges and barriers to success for Pacific Islanders completing their first year at an Australian university

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Kearney, Judith
Donaghy, Martina
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Jason Thomas

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2010
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80393 bytes

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Adelaide

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Abstract

This paper draws attention to the situation of low socio-economic groups with a non-English speaking background. In particular, it provides a preliminary study of the Pacific Islander community. In-depth interviews were conducted with two female Samoan students who had successfully completed their first year at university. We then used grounded-theory methodology with an embedding of constant comparative methods to analyse interview data. Findings showed that family support for education, equity outreach initiatives in schools, and transition programs that involve Pacific Islanders raised aspirations and encouraged access to university. Personal attributes such as agency and persistence allowed students to benefit from first-year initiatives provided by universities. Barriers to success were more evident during secondary schooling than during the first year at university. In particular, negative peer pressure discouraged aspirations. Outreach initiatives involving partnerships between schools and universities are recommended to provide the bridges that encourage success at university for members of the Pacific Islander community.

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13th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference 2010

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© The Author(s) 2010. The attached file is posted here with permission of the copyright owners for your personal use only. No further distribution permitted. For information about this conference please refer to the publisher's website or contact the authors.

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Higher Education

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