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Widening Participation at Warwick: Examining the Retention of Undergraduate Students

The widening participation agenda at Warwick is intended to provide opportunities that widen access to students who seek alternative entry to higher education outside of 'traditional routes.' Many of these students come from disadvantaged or diverse backgrounds, i.e. low socio-economic groups, minorities or persons with disabilities. There is a limited understanding of how these students engage within the University, what resources can be (or have been) useful to support them at the Undergraduate level, as well as increase their performance and confidence to motivate them to pursue further studies at the Postgraduate and Graduate levels where they are significantly underrepresented.

In order to establish what works, what doesn't, to understand how students feel and identify thier needs, this research project will engage both WP students representing academic departments across the four faculties, as well as departmental staff responsible for WP, through focus groups/interviews aimed at understanding their attitudes/feelings and obtaining feedback about current practices or suggestions for future ones. The intention is that the project will enhance and carry discourse on WP support forward and provide practical solutions to findings and recommendations made by both the interviewees and researchers. Five students are currently working on this project and already around 300 students have put themselves forward to be part of the focus groups. The project team would be very happy to hear from staff members or students who feel they could have an input into the research. To contact the project team please email Victoria Jelicic: Victoria.Jelicic@warwick.ac.uk