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Title: Mature students' transition to higher education : a (re) negotiation of identity and of becoming a 'novice academic'
Author: Chapman, Amanda
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 6613
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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The importance of attracting and retaining mature students in UK higher education is vital as future demographic movements indicate a decline in the number of school leavers. The opportunities offered by higher education are well documented but it can also be associated with risk; financially, socially and on a personal level with a change of identity. For mature students this risk can be significant and high stake, often impacting on other family members. University can offer a daunting experience for mature students; magnified by a sense of 'imposter syndrome', which is often triggered by a long gap in education or poor previous schooling. This thesis explores the first year experience of eight mature students at a higher education institution in the North of England. These students, all.from working class backgrounds, are first generation entrants to higher education. The students were interviewed at five key points during their first year. Entering university as a mature student often means a career change or the fulfilment of a long held dream and these students were no exception. The (re) negotiation of personal identity forms the main part of the analysis along with the notion of 'becoming' a student. Mature students often enter university with a wealth of practical work and life experience but without the academic underpinning. The process of acquiring academic skills and the use of prior experience in the classroom are discussed in the thesis, which employs communities of practice as a framework for both identity shift and academic literacy acquisition. The students in this research engaged in the learning aspect of student identity but some felt alienated and marginalised by the predominant discourse of student social life. The thesis concludes with the argument that mature students align themselves with the community of practice of 'academia' and therefore form a position of 'novice academic' rather than 'student'
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available