The influence of involvement in a widening participation outreach program on student ambassadors’ retention and success
This article examines university student involvement in programs aimed at widening higher education participation. Studies have demonstrated that prospective students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds benefit from interaction with tertiary role models, while university student benefits include graduate capability development. This article contributes to understanding the benefits of university student involvement in widening participation programs by exploring their influence on retention and success. This is timely as the Australian higher education sector is increasingly focused on improving student outcomes. A survey of student ambassadors, based on Kahu and Nelson’s (2018) conceptual framework of ‘mediating mechanisms’ that influence student outcomes, indicates that the role positively influences students’ retention and success. This article also increases institutional understanding of university students’ perspectives and demonstrates the potential usefulness of Kahu and Nelson’s framework when examining the extent to which specific initiatives influence student outcomes.