Peer support and need-based aid, particularly in the first year of university are vitally important to university students’ social and academic integration and achievement. Taking account of the increasingly diverse student population, this paper explores the perceptions of first-year postgraduate university students concerning support for social and academic integration and focus on the value of peer learning to increase the social and academic integration of first-year postgraduate university students. Focus group interviews (n=5) and individual interviews (n=35) were conducted between spring and winter of 2014 with transfer students (n=35) and working students (n=14). Using Appreciative Inquiry, participants suggested that during the first semester of the academic year the creation of a social setting which facilitates the connection to like-minded, same-age peers is essential for peer relationships and experiencing the benefits of peer support and peer education in an informal context. They further suggested that a reciprocal befriending-scheme organized in a more ‘noncommittal’ informal setting without any obligations, stimulates students to participate and demonstrates to be more helpful for their social integration. For their academic integration, face-to-face and online peer learning such as student counseling and peer modeling, are especially important tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-304
Number of pages5
JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
Volume228
StatePublished - Jul 2016

    Research areas

  • peer learning, Peer support, social integration, academic integration, appreciative inquiry, postgraduate students, Community

ID: 26653299