The Trials and Tribulations of Transition into Foundation Year Study
This paper provides a reflective review of activities undertaken to gain an increased understanding of factors influencing successful student transition to a specific integrated foundation year at a UK university. It critically analyses the foundation year students’ transitionary journey during the 2017/18 academic year and highlights the issues and concerns identified, particularly in response to the student voice. The paper provides an open and honest overview of an institution specific study of systems and processes and their potential contribution to student attrition. It details the challenges faced as the foundation year course team worked collaboratively to plan and manage an improved transition process for the 2018/19 academic year. Interventions outlined here include reviewing and developing admissions processes based upon the student experience, and beginning the process of transition into Higher Education as soon as practically possible through organising activities to promote familiarisation with the campus and the course and building early relationships with the course team prior to enrolment. The importance of an extended induction that balances academic and social integration is also discussed in relation to pre-induction activities that support anticipatory socialisation. The paper emphasises the importance of tailored course and institution specific analysis of transition, focusing on student voice, and recognising the impact of transition on retention and progression.