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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

The efficient outsider: Academic and social integration of direct entry students from HE colleges into universities

Foster, Monika, Carver, M and Mulroy, T (2019) The efficient outsider: Academic and social integration of direct entry students from HE colleges into universities. Studies in Higher Education. ISSN 0307-5079 (Submitted)

Item Type: Article


Students transitioning from further education at colleges to join the second or third year of undergraduate programmes at universities must quickly adapt to a new learning environment and new expectations. As highlighted in previous literature, transition is not simply academic but social and emotional as students form a new identity for themselves as learners. Two programmes at different universities were selected to provide contrasting examples of student experience, subject content, different institutional approaches, and student profile. Surveys and focus groups were analysed using thematic analysis to identify key themes in a bottom-up approach. A key finding was that similar transition issues persist despite substantial a range of formal intervention attempts led by the programme teams. Our analysis suggests that some students are able to partly manage the transition for themselves by engaging with informal groups and study in ways which put them outside the traditional university experience but which, through their focus on efficiency, may still capture the essence of what it means to be an independent learner at university. As part of bridging this formal and informal divide, it is suggested that programme tutors may usefully adopt a boundary-crossing role as invited members of these informal and often online spaces. Finally, we reflect on implications for the formality of the tutor role and whether the previous literature on the risks of students adopting surface approaches to learning may need to be reconsidered to account for a new type of student professionalism.

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More Information

Depositing User: Monika Foster


Item ID: 11236
ISSN: 0307-5079

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Monika Foster: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2020 10:17
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 13:01


Author: Monika Foster ORCID iD
Author: M Carver
Author: T Mulroy

University Divisions

Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism > Sunderland Business School


Education > Higher Education

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