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University College Dublin. Dia daoibh a chairde. Retetention B egins B efore E ntry. 12 Weeks to Retention Underrepresented M ature S tudents in UCD and in the Irish Higher Education system. Ronan Murphy UCD Mature Student Adviser May 2012. Overview. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Transcript of University College Dublin

Retetention begins before entry

University College DublinDia daoibh a chairde

Retetention Begins Before Entry

12 Weeks to Retention

Underrepresented Mature Students in UCD and in the Irish Higher Education system.

Ronan Murphy UCD Mature Student AdviserMay 2012

OverviewExplanation of who the students are that I work withSome facts and figures about mature students in UCD and in IrelandIssues mature students face pre-entryThe process and programmes for RetentionMy general work as it relates to retention and student issuesGeneral UCD student supports

Mature Student Retention

Underrepresented within the general student population In Ireland Students with a physical disability or specific learning difficulty

Students from low socio-economic (backgrounds)

Students who didnt enter university at 18, (possibly for the above reasons) but who enter university after they reach 23 years old based on what is know as mature years application

Mature Students in UCDCategories of Mature StudentsThose who have no third level experience or may not have completed secondary schoolThose who have some association with third levelThose who come into UCD on secondary school resultsThose who have degrees but are studying to a second undergraduate degree

Recent UCD Survey by Dr. Bairbre Fleming438 /926 mature students surveyed responded

58% F/42%M

Mean age of respondents =36.4 and a median of 32

80% of respondents parents did not complete 3rd level

Around 40% married or w/partner

37% have child dependents

50% receiving state assistance for education

Mature Students Ireland Survey(National network of mature student officers in Ireland) 55% F /45% M respondents = 195536% married or w/partner45% have adult dependents43% have child dependents33% out of education for 10+years11% out of education for 6-9 years15% out of education 3-6 years27% havent participated in any programmes of education prior to entering HE80% respondents parents didnt go to 3rd level60% receiving some state assistance for education

Mature Students Ireland SurveyCurrent Financial Situation

14% at risk of dropping out due to financial worries

60% finding it difficult or precarious financially

66% find their financial situation having an impact on their studies

73% considering going on to PG

93% unable to continue on to PG without financial support

Pre-conceived assumptions and pre-entry realitiesGenerally speaking mature students come to university from a particular frame of reference and which can be stocked with a number of pre-conceived assumptions regarding their ability to persist

Mature students also arrive with some stark realities

10Pre-conceived assumptions and pre-entry realitiesThe assumptions include questions about academic ability and nervousness about their right to be present

Realities are:Financial worries (60% finding it difficult or precarious financially) Juggling of familyand/or work life Childcare (37% UCD w/children) Parent care care (47% nationally with adult dependents) and the conscious choice to change their life

Assumptions and realities as triggers to non persistenceFor mature students pre-conceived assumptions and/or pre-entry realities can be a trigger for entering students to question whether they have made the right choice to enrol in higher eudcation

Unlike their 18 year old student colleagues mature students already have their lives outside univeristy and the very act of entry to HE requires them to alter their lives , sometimes drastically, and juggle new realities

Application and AffirmationWhat is important therfore for the entering mature student is to affirm that the leap of faith they made by applying to and accepting a place in higher education is reasonable and an attainable goal

This affirmation to the entering mature student needs to prove/display that they are not alone, that they can succeed and that others like them have completed the course having come from similar circumstances and mindsets

Retention360 entering mature students in 2011

171 of whom have no prior contact with HE

One retention figure is that only 1 of these 171 students has withdrawn

Withdrawal = actively withdrewRetention = moved from 1st to 2nd yearCompleted = finished their degree programme

RetentionOver a 10 year spread 1999-2009 the overall UCD retention is 83% but it shows signs of improvement in more recent years Taking 2008 - 89% progressed from 1st to 2nd year which was an improvement from 86% in 2007

17/16/9 withdrawals over past three years for mature students

One way I count is to see how many returned emails I receive when I send out a bulk e-mail

The process/programme of retentionMature years entry students in Ireland get notified of their acceptance into a university in the first week of July

I get a list from our Admissions Office of all those mature students who have accepted places in UCD by mid-July

As we know from talking to entering students that at this point all those who have accepted places are both very excited and very nervous

The process/programme of retentionMy service earns its salt from this point in mid to late-July through the first six weeks of term

It is very important that during this time mature students feel supported in the fact that the choice they made, the leap of faith, is valid and attainable

The process/programme of retentionAll entering mature students will get a letter fromme within a week of my getting the list fromAdmissions

The letter is both a welcome letter and an outlineof available supports from that point on

Writing Academy

Writing AcademyEntering MS are invited to partake of a 3 day writing academy in late August designed to alleviate the writing anxiety that attachs itself to many entering mature students

The Academy gives people a refresher on what is expected academically in 3rd level

This pre-registration writing programme, in collaboration with our Mathematics Support Centre, added a mathematics component in 2011 and will enhance this component this year

Writing Academy

Writing Academy

Mature Student Orientation Day

Mature Student Orientation Day

Mature Student Orientation Day

Mature Student Orientation DayAll entering mature students are invited to a half dayorientation programme held on the Saturday beforethe official university orientation

This event showcases UCD student servicesProvides an opportunity for mature students to meet other mature students within and without their academic disciplineHave a campus tourEngage with a student panel Q&A with current mature students.

The process/programme of retentionThese targeted programmes are designed to getthe mature students past the first hurdlesregarding

Their questioning of their academic abilityFeeling isolated as the only mature studentHaving a grasp of the campus and its servicesAlerting them to the one-to-one service provided by my office

An awareness of the different supports especially is essential for retention

The process/programme of retentionNo matter how many programmes I could runthere is actually nothing to prepare the enteringmature student for the first few weeks of termand the feeling of being overwhelmed by 18 yearolds

The positive about this is that there is a big andinfectious buzz from the younger students

The process/programme of retentionOnce academic term begins the actually day today practicalities and difficulties begin forstudents trying to balance their former lives andresponsibilities with the rigours and demands oftheir academic work

A million things crop up and I stay very busywith my one-to-one advisery service

Issues arising in one-to-one advising sessionsA large part of my service is one-to-one advising sessions and the main categories of what students seek advice on are outlined below:This is a new data base where these issues or this work is being captured but it is being refined as some categories such as Academic are currently covering a very broad range. Often more than one issue arises at a time (e.g. academic performance and family breakdown). We do have a way of noting second issues but again the categories are the same and are currently under scrutiny.Academic IssuesRegistration queriesAssessment BereavementPhysical HealthMental HealthStress/Coping/AnxietyFinancialPersonalCareersThe process/programme of retentionWithin the first two weeks I e-mail all entering mature students to alert them once again as to where my office is

I recently set up a facebook page to pass on any important or relevant pieces of news

Although many will have been introduced to the mature student society on the orientation day I remind them of that again and of its first get together http://www.ucd.ie/maturesoc/gallery.html

The process/programme of retentionThe first few weeks usually work pretty well as everyone is a bit overwhelmed just trying to get set up but around week 5 or 6 trouble

I send a specific email out to the mature students and explicitly outline what I think many of them are feeling; overwhelmed, anxious, unsure and ready to jump ship.

I invite them to come and see me and let them know that they are not alone in their thoughts

I remind them again of the different student supports and also remind them that they are already half way through their first semester

The process/programme of retentionThe other very important piece is to remind students that once they get their first semester exam results to come and see