An Exploration of Former LEAPS Students and Their Experiences of Imposter Syndrome Within Higher Education
This research explores the experiences of former LEAPS (Lothian Equal Access Program for Schools) students and their constructions of imposter syndrome within university. It should be noted that the mean age of the participants was 21.43, with only one participant being older than 21 (participant A: 27 years old). This meant that some of the existing literature surrounding mature students and imposter syndrome was considered when analysing participant A’s interview transcript. There was a gender imbalance (F = 5, M = 2) however this could not be avoided as purposive sampling was utilised. The research explored high school LEAPS involvement and imposter syndrome and aimed to investigate any correlation between the two. Using semi-structured interviews and constructivist grounded theory, four themes emerged from the data. These themes consisted of: Influences for Higher Education, Class Consciousness and Social Differentiation, Feelings of Imposter Syndrome within an Educational Setting and Coping with Imposter Syndrome Within University. The narratives provided by the participants were compared with existing literature and it was found that imposter syndrome was recognised by these students. The participants had varying levels of imposter syndrome and constructed this in different areas therefore their experiences were subjective, however there was clear overlaps between everyone. Further research is needed into this topic to further understand the intersection between widening participation students and imposter syndrome.