Mature students' journey into higher education in the UK: an interpretative phenomenological analysis

Saddler, Y. and Sundin, E.C. ORCID: 0000-0001-7490-035X, 2020. Mature students' journey into higher education in the UK: an interpretative phenomenological analysis. Higher Education Research and Development, 39 (2), pp. 332-345. ISSN 0729-4360

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This article reports on issues of diversity in the context of widening participation in global higher education (HE). Mature students represent a third of the HE student population in Australia, Canada, UK and USA. More research is needed to understand factors that can facilitate or hinder access to HE for this group. The aim of this study was to examine factors that a small group of mature students perceived influenced them as they made the decision to take up HE. Six undergraduate students at a British university who were on track to finish their studies took part in semi-structured interviews. All participants were white and from families with no previous experience of HE. Mean age was 42.7 years (range 35 - 51), 50% were female. The interviews were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Through using phenomenological analysis to analyse perceptions of changing motivation and goals during the decision-making process to take up HE, a detailed understanding of the complexity of these change processes was obtained. The analysis offers evidence that mature students experience far-reaching personal and social changes related to their decision to enter HE and adds a novel understanding of these identity-changes. This new insight is of fundamental importance to the field because the novel understanding of mature students’ meaning-making could be used to tailor interventions to facilitate access to HE for mature students.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Higher Education Research and Development
Creators: Saddler, Y. and Sundin, E.C.
Publisher: Routledge
Date: 2020
Volume: 39
Number: 2
ISSN: 0729-4360
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 10 May 2019 15:53
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2022 14:27

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