Succuss In Your First Year At University Education Essay

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Looking at what qualities are needed for a student to be successful in their first year at university. There a lot more to University than just intelligence and hard work. Other reasons need to be considered. Personal circumstance, risk factor need to be considered.

People go to university in hope of gaining knowledge and a good career with good income prospects. Currently 32% of 25- 35 year olds have achieved a bachelor degree The government has set a target of 40% of 25- 35 year olds to complete a bachelor degree. (2009 Transforming Australia's Higher Education System, p13) To meet this target the government need to look at why some people succeed at university and others fail. Most want to succeed at university there are many underlining factor to why people don't succeed. A review conducted in 2008 by a panel chaired by Professor Denise Bradley on behave of the Australian government found 72% of people who started a degree went on to complete their university degree) But 28% of people fail to finish their degrees. Most of 28% fail university do so in their first year. (Bradley,2008) What does it take to succeed at university?

Risk factors

Why do people fail to complete the first year at university? This question many universities and governments would like to know. There is already several academic research papers out there none of them seem to have a complete answer. There are so many different factors why failure happens in the first year. The best thing can done to increase the success rate for students in their first year is to look at all the risk factor and evaluate where improvement can be made.

Study methods

Full Time on campus

Studying full time at university on campus has the great level of success. Social interaction with other students can provide valuable support, gain different ideas and prospective. When attending lectures you have the ability to ask questions gain advice from students and lecturers. Full students give themselves more time for study and generally less likely to have much time for other commitments outside university.

Part time on campus

Part time student usually have other responsibilities such as part-time work, have children, have other social commitments. Managing the time to fit everything in is the most challenging thing for a part time student.

Distance education

Distance education required a very high level of motivation. A distance student misses out on social interaction with other students; they are limited in gaining idea and perspectives from their peers. Online Peer forums are used by distance student to gain feedback and ideas. Face to face is still a better way of interacting because more it obvious if you have understanding of an idea.

Paid work while studying:

The high cost of living in today world makes it very hard to live of just austudy payments. A lot of students work casually to support them while studying. A student that works any more than 15 hours a week risks dropping out of university due to fact they not allowing enough time to manage their studies (Kirsten McKenzie & Robert Schweitzer 2001,P,4) These students who don't give themselves enough rest time risk mentally burning out.

Demographic Factors

School leavers

School leavers are still young they lack life experience. A school leaver could attend university not really knowing why they are there. School leavers are greatly influence by peer pressure such as parting and socializing. School leavers may be pushed by family to go to university. Carrying the weight of family exception can be a reason why a school leaver could fail. Parents may push their son or daughter to pursue a certain career which they have no interest in. School leaver could be like a sheep flowing what their friends do. Student with high university entrance score have a higher success rate in their first year than those with low entrance score.( Kirsten McKenzie ,2004,p,15)

Mature age

Mature age students are generally 25 years or older. Mature age students attend university because of their own choice. They may not have completed year 12 schooling. Mature age student may struggle with the demands of university study. Older student may have other commitments such as family, work, and children. Mature age students have life experiences. Most have work history. They may not have a strong academic background. Generally mature age students are very good time managers because they used to juggling many different tasks. They are motivated to go to university. Many mature age students don't have the traditional entry requirement for admission to university; they may have had bad experiences from their schooling days or started a family early in life. By overcome these learning barrier through life experience this can make mature age students effective learners at university level. (1998, John T. E. Richardson and Estelle King,p69)

Humanitarian visa students:

People that are from another country on a humanitarian visa have to adjust to a different culture and most likely English is their second language. Moving from a war torn country is a traumatic experience. 37.9 of student succeed on humanitarian visa's succeed in their university studies. (2008,Jane Rienks,p,7)

Risks and circumstances

Education Levels

People who have not completed year 12 or previous tertiary: This common for a mature age student. However if you haven't completed year 12 this doesn't mean you won't succeed at university. University of Tasmania collected data which was analysed by the Jane Rienks and Stephanie Taylor indicated students with no year 12 or tertiary education 70.0% succeeded at university. This success rate was almost as high as a student with no risk factors 77%.(J,Rienkin,2009) What this data show people who don't meet the normal admission requirement can succeed at university. These students most likely regretted not compelled year 12. They have motivation, drive and life experience that mould them to be successful.

Students that didn't get first choice course option. There could be various reasons why students don't get your first choice option. They may have enrolled late, the admission requirements for the course chosen weren't met, course withdrawn, high demand for your course. By not getting your first course option this could be a burden. Your other chosen course option could be something you aren't interested in.

First in Family is a term referred as you are the first in your immediate family to attended university. Have some close to you that has been through university is great for support. Other members of your family might understand the commitment required for a university education.

Other risk factor, are personal circumstances such as tragedy, health, family matters, and financial pressures.

How do we do we define intelligence? People who perform well on usual means of measuring intelligence testing do not guarantee intelligence in real life. Real life has many unclear problems. (Sternberg & Wagner 1986,P,31) . Human Intelligence is so broad you can't measure intelligence as a single means of success. Your intellectual skills have to be related to what you are studying. In Cottrel Study skills hand book there is a reference to Garners seven multiple Intelligence systems. Lingusitic,Logical,spatial,musical,body-kinaesthetic,Intrapersonal. Principal of intelligences tells us people have various difference strengths of intelligence. (Cottrell, 2008 p, 43-45) 2008) the brain has the ability to learn new ideas and concepts. Intelligence doesn't measure success. You need to know your weaknesses and strengths. The willingness to improve and not give up on thing you find difficult.

Hard work is generally what makes people successful. There is a lot more to hard work than time and commitment. You could give 110% effort still struggle at university. Hard work is only a measure of success if you understand the concepts of what you are learning. For hard work to be beneficial you need to know when to seek help and, when you are struggling. Commitment is another factor of handwork, by not giving up your chances of success are greater than those that don't care about success. Lack of commitment could mean you are not ready for university you may have other personal circumstances that prevent you from been able to continue your studies. In the Elliott report there were some case study examples why some students drop out of university one lady linda 19 years old had to go back to work because of financial pressures.(A, Elliot, 2002) Work hard to succeed Is only effect measure for success if you manage your study time. The ability to Commitment to studying is a better more true meaning for success than hard work.


Risk factors can affect success. Every person is has different individually. People can't help unforeseen circumstances. Some people have to work harder than others for success but they can be just as successful as a person of high intelligence. Hard work is about persistence and motivation, and commitment. Intelligence still plays some part however for successful first year at University you still need to know your weaknesses and your strengths. To be successful you need to have a can do attitude and the willingness to learn everyone has that ability. If you know what are you risk factors for failure you can work hard to overcome any problem you may have.