British Sociological Association Annual Conference

  • Martin Myers (Presented paper)
  • Kalwant Bhopal (Presented paper)
  • Clare Pitkin (Presented paper)

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Description of Activity

    Transitions from Higher Education: identity, access, support and decision-making

    The advent of mass higher education has had a significant impact on graduate transitions and the changing demographics of UK higher education has led to greater diversity amongst the student population (HESA, 2016). This paper explores preliminary findings from a study which examines student transitions from higher education. It focuses on 100 survey questionnaires and 25 in-depth interviews with students who were in the third year of their Social Sciences/Education Studies degrees in three different types of universities (post-1992, million plus and Russell Group). The findings suggest that those students who attend elite Russell Group universities draw on their cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1984) to develop a ‘specialisation of consciousness’. These students are mastering the techniques and gaining the knowledge they need to be more successful than their peers at other institutions when making transitions into post graduate study or the labour market. In this process, we argue that students’ identities (their ethnicity, gender and socio-economic backgrounds) are key factors which contribute to both their access and membership of elite institutions and also to their success in acquiring these skills from such institutions. We argue that universities must examine the different types of support needed for students from different backgrounds.
    Period12 Apr 2018
    Event typeConference
    LocationNewcastleShow on map
    Degree of RecognitionInternational


    • Higher Education
    • diversity
    • Cultural capital
    • race
    • ethnicity
    • gender
    • socio-economic status
    • elites
    • post-1992
    • Russell Group
    • Million Plus