Understanding the early transition needs of diverse commencing university students in a health faculty: informing effective intervention practices

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Wilson, Keithia L
Murphy, Karen A
Pearson, Andrew G
Wallace, Barbara M
Reher, Vanessa GS
Buys, Nicholas
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2016
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The engagement and retention of commencing students is a longstanding issue in higher education, particularly with the implementation of the widening student participation agenda. The early weeks of the first semester are especially critical to student engagement and early attrition. This study investigated the perceived early transition needs of three cohorts of commencing students in their first three weeks of university study in a Health Faculty. A short survey was developed based on a systematic understanding of student transition and supplemented by open-ended qualitative data. The results showed a stable, consistent pattern of early transition needs across the cohorts, with commencing students expressing most concern about accessing resources, balancing work, family and study commitments, establishing peer relationships, and understanding the requirements and standards for early assessment tasks, particularly group tasks. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for early co-curricular and curricular interventions to enhance early student engagement and retention.

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Studies in Higher Education
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Education systems
Specialist studies in education
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