Eyes on the future: The impact of a university campus experience day on students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds
Written by Michele J Fleming and Diana M Grace, University of Canberra
Students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds, rural areas, non-English speaking backgrounds and those who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education in Australia. The UC 4 Yourself experience day is an outreach program by the University of Canberra for schools identified as having substantial numbers of students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds. It provides a full day of participation in, and gaining information about, university life. The current article reports on two survey studies (N¼525; N¼183) investigating the effectiveness of this program. Students who participated in the program were more likely to plan to attend university and were better able to imagine themselves as university students after their campus visit. Findings from the two studies suggest that the actual visit, despite its brevity, provides a unique experience by simultaneously establishing a knowledge base and facilitating the psychological transformation necessary to imagine a new future.