Trial Transition Programme reports successes
23 March 2006
A report into the pilot transition programme for new undergraduates, which ran from October 2005, shows that the scheme yielded positive results for students.
Established as part of UCL's widening participation initiative, the programme provided transition programmes in three UCL departments and aimed to help new students adjust to the academic and social aspects of university life. Nigel Percival, Director, UCL Educational Liaison, said: "The pilot transition programme, as well as directly benefiting students in the departments where it operated, has promoted to all undergraduates commencing their studies at UCL a wide range of services, making an important contribution to the university's teaching and learning and international strategies by improving student retention. I therefore very much hope that we will be able to expand the pilot programme and bring on board additional departments in September 2006 and in future years."
The report includes an audit of good practice in transition programmes across UCL, and finds that the most effective schemes focus on transition to higher education rather than just providing a one-week induction. Mr Percival said: "One of the chief benefits of a transition programme is that it is able to offer ongoing support to students throughout the whole of their first term at UCL."
Other notable aspects of the report are the results of a student survey, which identified several concerns about university life common to new students, and an overview of existing and new resources and their effectiveness in helping students. The report also looks at individual schemes run by UCL departments, such as study skills lectures and peer mentoring programmes, where, typically, new students are mentored by second year students.
Derek Kasher, Widening Participation Officer, said about mentoring programmes: "We have found that, even if it is not widely used, the existence of a peer mentoring programme is very reassuring for new students. It has formed a very important element of transition work across the board, and can be particularly helpful in subject areas which students have not previously studied at school or college."
The transition programme was warmly endorsed by UCL's Academic Committee at its meeting on 14 March 2006.
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Image: All first year undergraduates were issued with a card containing useful information in a wallet-sized format.