Traditional or Non-traditional Students?: Incorporating UK Students’ Living Arrangements into Decisions about Going to University
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Since the introduction of the post-1992 university, various, and ongoing, higher education (HE) policy reforms have fuelled academic, political, media and anecdotal discussions of the trajectories of UK university students. An outcome of this has been the dualistic classification of students as being from either ‘traditional’ or ‘non-traditional’ backgrounds. An extensive corpus of literature has sought to critically discuss how students experience their transition into university, questioning specifically the notion that all students follow a linear transition through university. Moreover, there is far more complexity involved in the student experience than can be derived from just employing these monolithic terms. This research proposes incorporating students’ residential circumstances into these debates to encourage more critical discussions of this complex demographic. Drawing upon the experiences of a sample of students from a UK ‘post-1992’ university this research will develop a profile for each accommodation type to highlight the key characteristics of the ‘type’ of student most likely to belong to each group. In doing so this establishes a more detailed understanding of how a ‘student’ habitus might affect the mechanisms which are put in place to assist students in their transitions into and through university.
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