Publication Details

O'Shea, S. (2015). 'University wasn't spoken about at home, it was just assumed that we would start working…': first-in-family students, family capital and higher education participation. In M. Hill, A. Hudson, S. Mckendry, N. Raven, D. Saunders, J. Storan & T. Ward (Eds.), Collaborate to widen participation: To, through and beyond higher education (pp. 223-238). London, United Kingdom: FACE.


The increases in the number of students attending higher education, particularly those who are the first in their immediate family to attend university provided the impetus for the study outlined in this article. Whilst previous research has explored the qualitative experience of being a first in family student, very few studies have explicitly focussed on how attending university interacts and impacts upon the immediate family of the learner. Drawing upon in-depth semi-structured interviews, this article will detail the findings from a small-scale study conducted in an Australian university that explored the interaction of the family home place and students' enactment of success within the higher education environment.