School leavers and others thinking about heading to university now have a new metric to weigh up when considering their study options.
The Good Universities Guide has this year featured a ‘First Generation’ five-star rating.
Released as part of the 2019 Guide today by Good Education Group, the new category compares universities by the proportion of the student cohort who are the first in a generation to pursue tertiary education.
Chief executive Chris Lester said the metric provides a good indication of which universities are delivering educational opportunities to demographics that are traditionally underrepresented.
“By providing this information, prospective students can make more informed choices about where they want to study,” Lester said.
Nine institutions scored five stars for the category. Federation University led the pack with 44 per cent of students recorded as being first in their family to attend university. The University of Southern Queensland and CQUniversity also received podium positions, each with 40 per cent of First Generation students.
“For those who fall under the First Generation category, this rating sends a strong message that whether your parents attended university or not, there is ample opportunity to pursue a tertiary education,” Lester said.
“It’s also important to highlight that the worth of a university is multi-faceted, not determined purely by academic performance.”
First Generation students made up only 15 per cent or less of the overall student cohort in six universities, including the University of Western Australia, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, The University of Melbourne and The University of Notre Dame. Australian National University posted the lowest proportion of first in family students; they made up 7 per cent of the student population.
Sarah O’Shea, Associate Professor in Adult, Vocational and Higher Education at the University of Wollongong, who has researched the university experience for first in family students, said the cohort often have additional pressures to contend with in their higher education journey.
“These can include reassuring family members they have made the right choice, being a role model for others in the family and community, and not having someone close to them whom they can approach for advice or support.”
This article originally appeared in Campus Review – First in family metric rounds out universities guide