The Barriers to Access and Success of Widening Participation Students: Do the Perceptions of University Staff Match Those of the Students?

Sartania, N. , Alldridge, L. and Ray, C. (2022) The Barriers to Access and Success of Widening Participation Students: Do the Perceptions of University Staff Match Those of the Students? AMEE 2022, Lyon, France, 27 - 31 August 2022.

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


Background: The drive to widen access to the medical education system for students from under-privileged backgrounds implicitly recognises that such students face barriers that applicants from more affluent backgrounds do not. Less attention is given to the challenges such students face after admission, which impact their progression and careers. A recent study of widening participation students’ perception of barriers to success and progression ( indicated that these students’ lower social, economic and cultural capital impact on their chances of admission to medicine and progression thereafter. Highlighted themes were: a) access to finance and privileged knowledge; b) support in secondary schools; c) work experience opportunities; d) early support and encouragement once on the course; e) peer support networks. Here, we report a follow-up study addressing how well academic and administrative staff understand the barriers the students face regarding admission, transition and success in the medical school, as well as in the subsequent workplace. Summary Of Work: Online questionnaires were distributed among the members of the National Medical Schools Widening Participation Forum and their colleagues that work in outreach departments, or work with medical students, inviting free text responses to four focussed questions. 51 staff members from 30 participating medical schools (85%) filled out the questionnaire; average completion time was 28 min. Summary Of Results: Initial thematic analysis revealed an overlap in staff and student opinion on financial (money worries; having to work for extra income), academic (deficient knowledge and lack of skills/experience of independent learning) and cultural issues (lack of network, feeling different) that contribute to a feeling of not fitting in (imposter syndrome). Discussion And Conclusion: The concepts of confidence, belonging, lack of positive parental influence and inequality have featured more prominently in staff returns. The study highlights the importance of understanding the nature of the barriers for designing effective support structures. Take Home Messages: We will present an in-depth analysis and propose an intervention designed to help medical schools’ staff understand the experiences and needs of underrepresented students. This should facilitate the introduction of positive ways to help WP students integrate and succeed better.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Sartania, Dr Nana
Authors: Sartania, N., Alldridge, L., and Ray, C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Related URLs:

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record