Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education


University preparatory or enabling programs operate in most Australian universities. The primary purpose of these programs is to assist students from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education. Despite a significant level of engagement and funding across the nation, high levels of attrition, as compared to undergraduate courses, speak to an experience that is not always successful for students. The way students experience and manage their entry into higher education via these programs is not well understood leaving significant gaps in our understanding of the interrelationship between the lives of students and the programs they enrol in.

This thesis explores how students at the University of Tasmania’s enabling program, the University Preparation Program, perceived, managed and experienced risk during their first semester. Qualitative data were collected from both students and staff, via semi-structured, one-on-one interviews. A constructivist approach was employed to explore the ways risk, opportunity and transformation played out in their lives.

FoR codes (2008)

130103 Higher Education, 160809 Sociology of Education



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.