Student Transition to University

by Mason Dillon Writer

The transition of students from school to university is generally known to be a difficult period in student life, as it usually brings a range of new experiences and challenges. The process requires adapting to new conditions, as there are significant differences between the school and the university learning environments. Higher academic requirements and demands in a university as compared to school, new social environment, separation from family etc. are among the factors that make the process of transition difficult and often stressful. Besides, during the transition process, students have to learn how to balance studying and other spheres of their life. Although it is generally believed that students who enter a university with good academic skills are likely to achieve academic success in their first year, there are many other factors that may as well affect the student adaptation at this stage. As Krause, Hartley, James & McInnis (2005) state, the first experiences of the first year students are vital in establishing relations, viewpoints and approaches to learning that will endure beyond their undergraduate years. This paper explores how social skills and personal attributes impact the success of student transition to university.

In their article “Thriving or just surviving? Exploring student strategies for a smoother transition to university” Richardson, King, Garrett & Wrench (2012) distinguish between two groups of students based on how they solve their problems and challenges during the stage of transition from school to university. Depending on the character of a student and also on his\her ability to cope with all the challenges which inhibit or make it harder to gain success or attain goals, the researchers divide students into two groups: the thriving students and the surviving students (Richardson et al., 2012). The researchers state that one of the factors that may have a significant influence on the student’s progress during the transition period is the presence of supportive and meaningful relationships. Maintaining such relationships differs across the groups. Students who belong to the ‘thriving’ category find it easy to make new ‘uni’ friends and to expand their social circles. They also succeed in uniting people outside the class and spending time with them. Their studying goes well because of collaboration in the process of learning and getting new knowledge from others. A different situation appears with those who are ‘just surviving’, as they do not have such an expanded circle of friends, and practically always their friendship connections are concentrated in the classroom. Such friendship is temporary because it will last only for the period of studying.

Another factor that has a significant impact on students’ academic success is their social activity involvement (Richardson et al., 2012). This factor is connected with the previous one. As students transfer from school to university, their social communication and social interactions change. Thus, students who thrive appear to adapt successfully to the new social environment; furthermore, the frequency and satisfaction from their interactions increases. On the other hand, students who just survive cannot reach the same due to their asociality, as they are not able to focus on two things: education and social relations. They are pressed by the workload both in and outside class, and they suffer from the inability to maintain proper time management.

Sometimes the reason why students may go down during their first year of studying is their unrealized expectations. The studies by Tranter (2003) and Smith & Hopkins (2005) confirm there are discrepancies between the students’ expectations prior to transfer and the reality that they face during their first year at university, which makes adapting to all the conditions more difficult. Another factor that should be emphasized is the influence of socio-economic background. Thus, for students from lower social class, it becomes more difficult to adapt to new conditions after the transfer due to the lower quality of school education in rural places or limited financial capability of their parents. Even if such students proceed with college or university education, it is hard for them to survive in a university environment. Krause (2006) indicates that a high percentage of the employed students report that their work allowed them to afford taking extra credits. However, this was the primary motivation for students from higher social class whereas the students from lower social class indicated that they worked part-time to meet their primary needs and cover basic expenses. The second group of students admitted that due to money concerns, it was more difficult for them to study (Krause, 2006). Therefore, for students who come from lower socio-economic groups, the transition period is associated with more difficulties. Another complicated task for students facing the transition is balancing between study, work, family and personal commitments. Maintaining such a balance is a matter of time management as well as the ability to cope with all challenges simultaneously without putting anything off. In this regard, the ‘just surviving’ students complain of being unable to do everything they want, to combine efforts and do everything on the agenda. They do not have time for themselves; they are devoted to the tasks they are given by the teachers. The ‘thriving’ students note there is additional amount of work in a university, and that there are more commitments which they have to balance, but for them, this is not a problem, and they even find extra time for other activities at leisure (Richardson et al., 2012). One more important factor which greatly affects both groups of students is stress. During studying, students may get in stressful situations, and it is vital that they find the way out immediately. In this regard, the thriving students endeavor to take actions toward solving stressful situations and eliminating the factors which might have caused them. On the other hand, the ‘just surviving’ students are more passive with regard to stress, that’s why they happen to be overwhelmed with stressful situations afterwards (Richardson et al., 2012). Thus, an active position of student and their wish to cope with difficulties means is of big importance in this respect. Summing up everything, a number of factors are of great importance during the transition period from school to university. This time is the hardest in the life of students as they are required to adapt to new circumstances and conditions. Depending on the personal attributes and on the ability of being sociable, students may fail or succeed in undergoing this difficult transition. In general, students who are socially active, maintain supporting relationships, pay due attention to preventing stressful situations and apply time management skills in balancing studies with other spheres of life are more successful in their university adaptation and undergo the painful transition process in an easier and a more effective way.

This article was prepared by Mason Dillon who is a talented writer at Whose hobby is to transfer his thought to the paper sheets.


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About Mason Dillon Junior   Writer

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Joined APSense since, June 17th, 2020, From Chicago, United States.

Created on Jun 18th 2020 01:56. Viewed 152 times.


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