Motivational Factors as a Driver for Success for First-Year Students at a Selected Public University in South Africa
Remaining motivated is vital to enable continued focus and success for university students. This study examined motivational factors as a driver for success for first year students at a selected public university in South Africa. The study adopted a phenomenological qualitative research design and participants included 312 first year students from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg who were purposively selected from the 2020 first year Bachelor of Education cohort. Data were collected by means of open-ended survey questions in the first and sixth week of lectures. Alderfer’s Existence, Relatedness and Growth (ERG) theory (1969) and Vroom’s (1964) theories of motivations were used as the analytic framework. The qualitative findings indicated significant reliance by students on external motivating factors as compared to internal motivating factors. In practice, university structures could strengthen orientation programmes for first year students at the university as these programmes would be an external motivator to enable student success.