Publication Details

O'Shea, S. (2016). Supporting and engaging students who are the first in their families to attend university: A practise paper. AISHE-J: The All Ireland Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 8 (2), 289-1-289-15.


Globally, first-in-family learners represent a significant proportion of the university student population, yet these high rates of participation are not necessarily matched by equally high success rates. Instead, internationally the research on this group indicates that these learners are at greater risk of departure from university when compared to their second and third generation peers, often as a result of limited exposure to academic culture and expectations. This article provides an overview of current research on first-in-family learners and also, offers some recommendations for supporting and engaging with this cohort within university settings.