Abstract||Women are returning to study as mature age students in increasing numbers. Typically,
these women have been away from study for a number of years and, in order to gain
entrance into a university course most women are required to undertake a bridging
program. Bridging programs can provide women with an alternative pathway into
university and are designed to develop the academic and study skills required to
successfully undertake undergraduate studies. The Women into Science and Technology
(WIST) bridging program, offered by Central Queensland University, is a self-paced
bridging program which provides a low cost, study at home option specifically designed
to accommodate women’s needs.
This research focuses on the perceived needs of women who are enrolled in the WIST
program. To this end a survey instrument has been developed to identify the needs and
challenges of women undertaking the WIST program. This instrument was used to
explore the needs and challenges of women enrolled in the WIST program.
The survey results revealed that women have a range of needs which include support
from the university, development of study and academic skills, personal qualities such
as motivation and determination as well as support from their family and personal
networks. The results indicate that the university needs to provide a range of support
mechanisms and processes. These outcomes were used to develop the Get SET for Study
framework that can be used for the planning and design of bridging courses similar to
WIST for women who are considering enrolling in university.