Document Type

Conference Paper


This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only

Publication Details

Presented at the Higher Education in Transformation Symposium November 2 - 4, 2016 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada


Since a post-secondary education tends to lead to improved life chances and opportunities, understanding the ways in which students at all levels of university are able to succeed is important not only for individuals, but also for the nation. In spite of the success of targeted first- year retention programs, most universities in Ontario have much lower degree completion rates. Few existing studies of university persistence and success focus on what students themselves say about how and why they are successful at persisting to graduation. This pilot study compared the strategies for success at university used by self-identified visible minority students and those who did not self-identify as a visible minority. The findings demonstrate that further research is needed to better understand how students who face significant barriers are able to successfully persist to fourth year and graduation. Initial findings illustrate the importance of a strong foundation of having good time management, being well-organized, and being motivated to engage in course work. When students embrace these foundational strategies, then more nuanced strategies can be implemented.