Staying the distance: students’ perceptions of enablers of transition to higher education
Written by Angela Bowles, Ron Fisher, Ruth McPhail, Daniela Rosenstreich and Alexandra Dobson
Students’ perceptions during their first semester at university may be critical in the decision to continue or discontinue studies. In this study we consider students’ perceptions of what factors enable successful transition to university. Using qualitative research, students’ perceptions are obtained by in-depth interviews and focus groups that capture the first- and second-order perspectives of existing students at the end of first-year studies. Interview and focus-group themes are used to develop an 80-item questionnaire that is then used to collect data from first-year students (n = 771) at an Australian university. Key findings from the research are the identification of seven enabling factors that fall into two main groups, student-centred and university-led. Identifying enablers of transition provides universities with the opportunity to assist students in the successful transition to higher education.