‘Swallow your pride and ask for help’, first-time students told

Ethnic minority, mature and working-class students should be more confident and persistent about asking for help at university, a research paper claims. The BBC reports.

The University of Reading study says a mix of fear and pride can stop these “non-traditional” students from accessing available support services.

“Take advantage of your tutors and make use of the academic staff and support staff,” mature student Alexis says.

“Don’t be afraid to talk to your lecturers,” adds mature student Maggie. “Tell them if you don’t understand something.”

These two women were among 30 high-achieving students from non-traditional backgrounds at two post-92 universities (former polytechnics) in London, who were interviewed by the Reading researchers.

The process of seeking help and support “appeared difficult or even uncomfortable for some students due to fear, but also pride”, the report says.

“I’ve never really approached a teacher, I don’t know why really, I think it’s the fear, the unknown,” mature Asian student Rya told the researchers.

“In short, affluent students are typically socialised with dispositions and resources that are valued and rewarded in higher education,” the report said.

“Whereas students from poorer backgrounds, including non-traditional students, tend to have little or no prior knowledge or available resources to support their higher education, which often results in a range of struggles… as universities constitute a foreign or even hostile environment for ‘people like them’.”

Read the full article ‘Swallow your pride and ask for help’, first-time students told

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin


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