ALL Member Dr. Katriona O'Sullivan Has New Article Published

Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 11:45

Photo of Katriona O'Sullivan
Katriona O'Sullivan has article published:
‘I feel like I have a disadvantage’: how socio-economically disadvantaged students make the decision to study at a prestigious university"
published in Studies in Higher Education 19/4/18.

This paper presents findings from an interpretative phenomenological analysis with 20 students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who were accepted onto a Foundation Year in Oxford University. It explores the factors that impacted on their decision to apply to a prestigious university and student’s views on their transition to the prestigious university. The analysis highlighted four key factors:

(1) The complex relationship students had with their schools and the wider education system;
(2) The strong sense of agency they showed in overcoming a range of systemic and structural barriers;
(3) Social relationships with family members, peers and the wider community; (4) The importance of the Foundation Year model in supporting transitions to the university.

The identified factors have two key implications:

(1) a need to engage in system-wide structural reform that empowers students to develop an agentic approach to HE choices and
(2) a need for prestigious institutions to ensure that schools and teachers are empowered with cultural capital and knowledge of the admissions processes to support students’ applications in an equitable way.

Link to the article