Transition to university - A self-regulatory approach

Year: 1997

Author: Bramwell-Vial, Ann, Bingham, Bob, Doring, Allan

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Within universities, expanding first year enrolments and lower academic entry levels have further increased the diversity of students' backgrounds. Much of the literature suggests that the transition to university is often problematic requiring significant social and academic adjustments on the individual's part (McInnis and James (1995), Burroughs-Lane (1996) and Trindle (1996). Poor coping can lead to ongoing academic and social difficulties including eventual failure or withdrawal.

It is argued that students who make a successful transition to university are competent in their self-regulatory behaviour especially in three important components: goals, self-efficacy and learning strategies (Schunk, 1993). The student who is able to self-regulate their learning behaviour is more likely to cope while those with low self-regulation likely to suffer stress from poor handling of competing priorities and/or poor learning behaviour.

As part of an ongoing project, this paper examines the notion of self-regulation as an inherent component of a student's transition to university and as a means of increasing the understanding of student difficulties, particularly in the academic area. It also examines whether self regulatory behaviour can be fostered as part of the overall academic process. Standard tasks such as reflective self monitoring are evaluated in terms of their contribution to self-regulation and academic development. The use of additional tasks which serve this function is then discussed.