New research from the University of Wollongong’s Professor Sarah O’Shea has offered an insight into the challenges faced by regional students as they move into higher education.

The study, led by Professor O’Shea, with colleagues from the University of New South Wales and the University of Newcastle, and funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE) at Curtin University, gave students the opportunity to use digital storytelling to capture their perspectives on the transition to university.

“Disproportionate numbers of early leavers from higher education are from regional and remote areas,” Professor O’Shea said.

“A better understanding of the ‘lived experiences’ of learners is essential in addressing the reasons behind this attrition.”

Digital stories use a combination of photos and narration. Workshops on how to create a digital story were offered to commencing Year 11 students as part of the University of New South Wales ASPIRE outreach program. This perspective was complemented by stories from university students who had already made the move, reflecting back on how they managed this transition

The report, Shifts in self and space: Moving from community to university, was released by the NCSEHE.

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