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March 02, 2016

Transitions in Postsecondary Education: StudentVu Transitions Survey Results

Academica Group Inc.

New survey finds students unsure how to navigate the transition to higher education

Report

A new survey finds that while students have a clear idea of what they are looking for from college or university, they have a tough time making the transition to the new life and academic expectations of higher education. A survey done by Academica Group for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) found that students' motivations for attending higher education were primarily career-driven, both in selecting the institution with the best reputation and in taking part in activities like work-integrated learning to gain hands on knowledge and experience in their field.

Project description
The survey took place in the fall of 2015 with Academica Group's StudentVu panel to gather the perspectives of current students and recent graduates on their experiences transitioning into, through and out of postsecondary education. More than 1,600 students were surveyed.

Findings
Making informed decisions on these issues was a challenge with many students expressing frustration on being unable to find useful information on institutions, their programs of interest, financial aid and the application process.

Students also expressed having difficulty adjusting to the changing lifestyle of living away from home and the new academic expectations around workload and grades. This transition was one area where students felt their secondary school had not adequately prepared them, with 54% of students saying they felt barely or not at all supported by their high school in developing the necessary stress and health management skills for postsecondary education.

Students currently in postsecondary education feel positive and optimistic about their employment prospects and more than 60% have a specific career in mind. But they do offer many suggestions on how colleges and universities could better aid them after graduation, including expanded work-integrated learning opportunities to help grow a network of contacts, and more job fairs and career workshops.