Friendship supported learning – the role of friendships in first-year students’ university experiences

Picton, Catherine and Kahu, Ella R. and Nelson, Karen J. (2017) Friendship supported learning – the role of friendships in first-year students’ university experiences. In: 3rd Students Transitions Achievement Retention & Success Conference (STARS 2017), 02 Jul - 05 Jul 2017, Adelaide, Australia.


The student experience at university is impacted by student and institutional factors that combine to influence student wellbeing and engagement. This paper contributes to existing literature on student engagement by exploring friendships that are formed with other students. The qualitative study followed students at an Australian regional university throughout their first year of study. Drawing on Kahu and Nelson's framework of student engagement, this paper reports findings on the influence of friendships on students' psychosocial experiences, and on learning engagement outcomes. Findings indicated that students establish friendships with people with common interests, increasing a sense of belonging. Friendships also improve student wellbeing through increasing comfort in attending class, reducing stress, and providing opportunities to relax. Through initiating student supported learning opportunities, friendships also lead to opportunities for students to deepen their engagement: enhance student interest, develop positive learning behaviours, and increase cognitive understanding.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 48687
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2022 23:19
Last Modified: 24 Jun 2022 01:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: student experience; university; wellbeing; engagement
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390303 Higher education

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only