The First Year Experience in Australian Universities

This report provides an analysis of trends over a twenty year period in the attitudes and experiences of first year students in Australian universities. It is based on the national survey of first year students undertaken by the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education at five-yearly intervals since 1994.

Dramatic changes have taken place in the Australian higher education sector since the last First Year Experience Study in 2009. The student body has continued to diversify with the introduction of the demand driven funding system and the provision of government funding to increase the inclusion and support of students from under-represented groups. Advances in technology, among other trends, have continued to alter the modes of student participation, the structures of course delivery, and relationships between students and teachers.

The 2014 First Year Experience survey is the first study of the ‘post Bradley review’ cohort and as such, provides insight into some of the possible effects of the demand driven system on the experience of first year students. The data offer important reference points for monitoring the expectations and experiences of a larger and more diverse group of students, and the effectiveness of university efforts to cater for them.

Authors: Chi Baik, Ryan Naylor and Sophie Arkoudis.

Published: 2015

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Research Program

Student experience