The Challenge of Successful Transition to University Education: Insights and Possible Solutions
Patrick Bishop Senior Lecturer
Hilary Rodham Clinton School of Law
Access to university education and academic achievement at university is demonstrably associated with individuals’ socio-economic background. In addition, legal education and the legal profession have been historically associated with social elites and exclusivity. Research has demonstrated the importance of a smooth transition into higher education (HE) with respect to students’ academic achievement. With the assistance of a small grant from SAILS we conducted a small study to explore students’ experiences of the transition into a higher education LLB (Bachelor of Laws) programme at Swansea University’s School of Law. The survey included a mix of quantitative and qualitative elements with a particular focus on those students which the literature indicates may find that transition particularly challenging. This includes students who are first generation university goers (defined as being the first person in their immediate family to attend university, immediate family includes parents/guardians and siblings) and/or students from a deprived background (including those who had previously been in receipt of free school meals, were care leavers or asylum seeking / refugees). While the student experience and successful transition may be facilitated by informal support structures, e.g. making friends, participation in clubs and societies etc, this study focused particularly on student’s academic experience. We surveyed 159 law students on their transition experience and will further explore the insights gained with a series of focus groups. While the study was limited to law students, the survey’s findings are likely to be relevance to most academic disciplines. This presentation will focus on the insights drawn from the survey and how these can inform innovative induction and learning activities.
The presentation will be traditional in approach; it will utilise a power point presentation which makes extensive use of data visualisation techniques to convey the survey’s findings. The presentation will be interspersed with questions to the audience to reveal their current perception of the problems typically associated with transitioning to university level education. The presentation will be useful to any undergraduate teacher but will be of particular relevance to those in involved in induction activities.
Transition, survey findings, induction activities
At the end of the session, it is hoped that attendees will have developed a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by students when transitioning to university level education. Further, the presentation will highlight a range of options for the development of a more supportive scheme of induction activities.