Mature age student awareness of academic culture: An encouraging or inhibiting factor to study at university

Year: 2007

Author: Cullity, Marguerite

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The practices, values, and expectations of academic culture can worry mature-age commencers. A challenge for the academy is organising a fit between academic culture and the needs of mature-age students. A qualitative case study of four alternative entry programs for mature-age students found that program completers (n=25) value academic culture. The chance to experience academic culture produced ‘academic’, ‘social’, and ‘attitudinal’ outcomes for the students. Significantly, experiencing academic culture assisted over 90% of them to adapt to university life, improve their confidence, and interact with lecturers. Conversely, poor relations between academics and students and the marginalising of mature-age student needs disturbed them and they queried their attendance at university. In light of student outcomes and concerns, the academy needs to remain cognisant of, and sensitive to, the ways in which academic culture can encourage or inhibit mature-age students to participate in study.