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Durham Research Online
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Experiences of first-generation scholars at a highly selective UK university

Hindle, C and McEwan, C and Boliver, V and Mclarnon, A and Simpson, B and Brown, H (2021) 'Experiences of first-generation scholars at a highly selective UK university.', Learning and teaching., 14 (2). pp. 1-31.


Targets set by the UK Office for Students require highly academically selective UK universities to enrol a greater percentage of students identified as least likely to participate in higher education. Such students are typically at a disadvantage in terms of levels of academic preparedness and economic, cultural and social capital. Drawing on 18 interviews with first generation students at Durham University, we identify five sites of pressure: developing a sense of belonging within the terms of an elite university culture; engagement in student social activities; financial worries; concerns about academic progress, and self-transformation. Based on these insights, we argue that support for first generation scholars will require that universities recognise and redress elitist cultures that discourage applications from prospective first-generation scholars ultimately ensuring those who do enrol have the best educational and all-round experience.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:first generation scholars, inclusion, higher education, highly selective universities, widening participation
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© The Author(s) 2021
Date accepted:29 January 2021
Date deposited:03 February 2021
Date of first online publication:01 June 2021
Date first made open access:03 February 2021

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