Transition into second and final year undergraduate study

Following an exciting first year students can find the challenges of second year to be a surprise. 

Much work has been carried out to support students with their induction into university life; their preparedness for higher education, and the first year experience with the aim of supporting the smoothness of their transition from school or college. However, less attention has been paid to supporting students with their transition through the remainder of the university lifecycle, particularly into their second year.

Following an exciting year of finding new friends, exploring new subject areas, gaining newfound independence and a long summer vacation of new experiences such as working, travelling etc students can find the challenges of second year to be a surprise eg the need for more independent study, better time management, no significant induction programme, living in new accommodation with different friends, anxiety over future careers etc. This is known as the ‘sophomore slump’ in the US (Gahagan and Hunter 2006) but it is becoming an increasingly widespread term and is associated with a process which affects students’ engagement, achievement and often involves concerns about social and academic identify.

The transition into second and final year undergraduate study good practice guide provides student perspectives and highlights good practice to aid schools in evaluation and refresh of their current transitional support programme.