Document Abstract

Who goes to college via access routes? A comparative study of widening participation admission in selective universities in Ireland and England, IN Social Inclusion, Vol 7 No 1 2019, pp38-51

Explores changing national widening participation (WP) policy and responses from higher education institutions (HEIs) from a cross-national perspective. Focuses on the use of contextualised admissions and the provision of foundation year programmes in selective universities in Ireland and England. Uses data gathered from WP students in two selective universities in Ireland and England to explore how student characteristics differ according to the WP route undertaken. Draws on interviews conducted with staff involved in admission decision-making to explore how those with responsibility for admission within each institutional context perceive the WP pathways and their aims. Presents the findings and highlights how important it is for selective universities to adopt multiple WP pathways, given that the use of contextualised admission and the provision of foundation years attract quite diverse student intakes. Compares the characteristics of students who have gained admission to HE through foundation year programmes and contextualised admission routes. Notes that, in both contexts, those entering through foundation years have experienced greater levels of disadvantage in terms of family history of education and family occupation compared to their contextualised admission counterparts. Reveals that those with responsibility for admission perceive the WP admission routes in different ways, highlighting a clash between institutional culture and the goals of WP.


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O’Sullivan, Katriona et al
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