Student voices in transition reports the experiences of 70 students who entered university through two national award-winning pathways at Monash University in Australia and South Africa. It provides insight into why these students sought university qualifications, how they adjusted to university study, the challenges they faced and the rewards they experienced. Their voices confirm that effectively adapting to university entails more than the acquisition of new study skills. The challenges faced by commencing university students, particularly those who have past experiences of modest academic achievement, extend beyond classrooms into their social life and sense of identity. The students confirm that it is in the first year at university that they learn the appropriate skills, behaviours, attitudes and values necessary to become successful students and graduates. Curriculum and teaching practices that cultivate student identities enable them to become future-focused and optimistic learners, equipped with adaptive learning strategies and able to build and sustain academic momentum.
Student voices in transition contextualises the experiences of students studying in Australia and South Africa within recent international research and confirms that many of the challenges and rewards of adapting to university teaching and learning practices are generic and similarly experienced internationally. The student participants provide insights into what is entailed in coping with competing academic, social and workplace demands. Their observations and perceptions will be of interest to commencing students and their families, as well as university educators and administrators engaged in supporting new students. Producing graduates who are ethical and engaged citizens, critically enquiring and work-ready, requires universities to understand their commencing students and to explain the acquisition of these attributes.
In Australia and South Africa, as in many other states, higher education policies seek to broaden participation among under-represented student groups. Universities have responded with pathway programmes that attract, prepare and retain students from increasingly diverse backgrounds. To effectively equip these students for success in their studies, it is important to understand how they experience university. Student voices in transition explores how previously under-represented students perceive, experience and learn to successfully adopt university learning practices.
Chapter 1: The Student Voices Project: the programmes and the students
Chapter 2: Commencing university
Chapter 3: Adjusting to the university culture: becoming an independent learner
Chapter 4: Academic transition: a new style of learning
Chapter 5: Social transition
Chapter 6: Academic writing
Chapter 7: Developing disciplinary literacy
Chapter 8: Becoming a critical thinker
Chapter 9: Developing graduate attributes and becoming a lifelong learner
Chapter 10: The Student Voices project and teaching transition: final observations
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