Journal of Education & Social Policy

ISSN 2375-0782 (Print) 2375-0790 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/jesp

The Relationship between Demographic Factors and Adjustment to University for Mature-Age, Undergraduate Students
Merryn Dawborn-Gundlach

It is important that all students who enrol in tertiary institutions can complete their chosen course. A smooth transition is critical in ensuring that the initial experience of university is positive and that students adjust well to the academic, social and personal demands of tertiary study. Some issues of adjustment affect all first-year students, while some are specific to certain demographic groups. Older students may have extra responsibilities and demands on their time, which can have a negative impact on their university adjustment. The experience of transition and ultimate adjustment of ‘non-school leavers’ or ‘mature-age students’, those who do not enter university directly from school are relatively unexplored in the existing academic literature. This article reports the specific findings of a broader study involving the transition and adjustment of mature-age, undergraduate students to university (Dawborn-Gundlach, 2015). As part of this study an online survey questionnaire sought information regarding participant adjustment to university according to four scales and ten subscales of adjustment (Baker &Siryk, 1988,1999) and demographic groupings which included; gender, age group, first language spoken, nationality, previous education, family situation, enrolment category and employment details.The study highlights the differences between university adjustment for diverse demographic groups. Significant, positive associations were identified between students who spoke English as their first language and the scales of Social Adjustment, Personal Adjustment and Attachment and with a calculated Overall Index of Adjustment.

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