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The University of Southampton
Transition Project

During semester one

It is very important that the University does not gear all its support and information efforts during induction only. Students' adjustment to a new learning and social environment will take some time and the support activities in the first semester should be focused in helping students to acclimatise. Regardless of whether students are coming from the UK or overseas they will all have to deal with the difficulties of getting to know the system, becoming independent, making new friends and take responsibility for their own learning.

A good example of an online resource developed for this purpose is University of Melbourne's  AIRport. The site allows students to navigate resources developed to support them in their transition with a selection of both generic and subject specific information and advice.

Peer support schemes schemes can be very effective in providing students with a supportive environment to assist the transition to Higher Education. They also give students the opportunity to become more proactive learners and develop their intellectual and professional skills further. The Transition Project has supported peer support schemes in Management, Chemistry and Psychology. In the academic year 2012/13, the project piloted a scheme across the whole faculty of Engineering & the Environment, where all 450 new UG students were assigned to a buddy. This is the largest peer support scheme running at the University.

It is important that tutorials and the peer support meetings are structured around weekly themes to make sure that key information is delivered at the appropriate time during the student transition. The development of themes also provides a useful checklist to help students benchmark their progression and identify what actions they need to take.

During the early weeks of the first semester it is very important that students identify any gaps in academic skills they might have and are directed towards appropriate resources in the University. The Study Skills Toolkit is a generic resource that students can use to improve some of their academic skills.

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