Succussing 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 factors need to be considered. Personal circumstance, University environment and other 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(p13, 2009 Transforming Australia's Higher Education System ). 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. ( 2008, Bradley) What separates success from failure rate?

Why do people fail first 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.

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.

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, children.

Mature age students have life experiences. Most have work history.

May not have a strong academic background.

Are generally good time managers

They want 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)

What information can we conclude from the demographic risk factors?

Risk factor can be vary individually. Risk factors have nothing to do with intelligence or hard work. Each circumstance can be quite different.

Risks and circumstances

Education Levels

Completed year 12

Completed tertiary

Course Offer

Didn't get first choice course option



Risk factors data

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 weakness 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. 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 go back to work because of financial pressures.(A, Elliot, 2002)

The Conclusion

Intelligence. Risk factors need to be considered. Every person is different. 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. Intelligence still plays some part however for successful first year at University you still need to have a hard work ethic.


Dec, 2008 Denise Bradley, Review of Australian Higher Education: Final Report.

Viewed: 21/01 2013,


2009, Australian Government, Transforming Australia's Higher Education System

Viewed: 21/01 2013,


 R, Sternberg, & R, Wagner 1986, Practical intelligence, Nature& origins of competence in the everyday world, Cambridge University Press, New York.

2002, Allison Elliot, Factors affecting first year students' decisions to leave university, University of Western Sydney

, viewed 21/01 2013,

 Stella Cottrell, 2008, The study skills Handbook Palgrave macmillan, 2008 3rd edition , England.

2002, Allison Elliot, Factors affecting first year students' decisions to leave university, University of Western Sydney

1998, John T. E. Richardson and Estelle King, Adult Students in Higher Education: Burden or Boon?, The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 69, No. 1, p69, Ohio State University Press, viewed 05/02/13 9:00, <>