Tips For Students Transitioning From High School To University


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Change can be quite a difficult and overwhelming process for many first year students. When we speak about transitioning we refer it to moving from one level to another level. The learning dynamic is complex when starting university. 

We know that change is not easy and this means that first year students have to adapt to a new learning environment and teaching style.

Tips for transitioning / dealing with change:

  • Change is inevitable and we need to embrace it 
  • Find helpful coping mechanisms to deal with change to avoid feeling stressed and anxious
  • Take it one day at a time 
  • Have a positive mind-set and outlook
  • Speak to close friends and relatives on how you are adapting to change

One of the most common issues that many first year students encounter is fitting into a new environment. Tinto Van Gennep stated, “The cycle of entering the university moves through 3 distinct stages namely; separation,transition and incorporation.” 

  • Separation - During this stage, many students move away from home to stay on campus/ res. This is where they discover the true adulthood of taking responsibility for themselves and adjusting to university life. 
  • Transition - Once students have settled in, they begin interacting and connecting with other students. The first and second stages can be stressful and overwhelming for some students as they enter unfamiliar territory. 
  • Incorporation - First year students are exposed to various personalities and diverse cultures. In order to master this stage, students have to come into contact with different people from the institution to reach a social and academic connection. This allows students to blend in and form their own identity.

With all the above mentioned, transitioning from high school to university is a process. Do not be hard on yourself because each and everyone’s experience to change is different. Try and work your way around adapting to new styles, techniques and ways of learning. 

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