First Year University Students and Their Parents: Conjoint Experiences of University

Best, Gillian (2002) First Year University Students and Their Parents: Conjoint Experiences of University. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


The central focus of this thesis is an examination of the first-year university experience as seen through the eyes of students and their parents. Through the thick descriptions of conjoint interviews conducted in eight family homes on three different occasions during the students’ first-year, the thesis offers a narrative of family lives of some Australian university students and thematically demonstrates how university and home life co-exist. The thesis identifies two key narratives in the existing first-year experience literature: the Archetypal and the Alternative student experience narrative. These focus on students who are conventionally categorised respectively as traditional and first-generation students. However, neither of these fully reveals the experiences of the families in this study. In order to give voice to these otherwise silenced narratives, the author has identified two other key narratives present in the interview data: Metamorphosis and Continuity, and two sub-narratives of separation and connection. The significance of these newly identified narratives is threefold. First, they include parents of first-year university students as subjects of inquiry. Second, the narratives reveal the existence and importance of conjoint university experiences, that is, experiences which include both students and parents. Third, the narratives legitimate university students’ decisions to live at home with their parents. Underlying the research is a commitment to moving current analysis of university student experiences beyond a deficit model for university academics’ understandings of first- generation students’ and their parents’ experiences of university and to an acknowledgement and more serious examination of the conjoint nature of students’ and parents’ lives.

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Social Sciences and Psychology
Keywords first-year university students, parents, conjoint university experiences, narratives, Australia
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