Identifying positive success factors and addressing the factors that impede academic success for minority students in higher education, is a priority for most countries that are experiencing rapid population diversity. This qualitative study explored the experiences of first-year Pacific students at a New Zealand university, and undertook a comparative analysis of factors from two groups of students; one that successfully passed 50% of their first-year papers compared with those students who did not pass at least 50% of their academic papers.
Students who succeeded in the first year of study used Pacific-centric student support services, had family members who had been to University before, and had different study habits, learning strategies and expectations from their peers who struggled to achieve. This study identified important aspects of the first-year transition for Pacific students, upon which tertiary institutions can have some impact. As first-year academic success predicts University completion, this study recommends further effort in first year transition interventions to address the social and academic adaptations that Pacific students need to make in order to be successful at University study. © 2018, Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association. All rights reserved.