‘Today I’m gonna talk a bit about the jump from school to university. I call it a jump because that’s exactly how it feels. Like a leap. With your eyes shut. Off a cliff. At night. Into shark infested waters. At least that’s how it felt for me the first time.’
(Second-year student on their experience of starting university, Devis-Rozental and Barron, 2020, p. 83)
For any educator to read this student’s lived experience is hard. Indeed, most of us work in education because we want to make a difference and change lives for the better, and knowing that any of our students can feel like this at any point is not something that we would want. Still, it happens.
This paper argues that the transition from school environments, with an emphasis on results from examinations, does not prepare students well for the self-directed type of learning required at university in the UK (Murtagh, 2010). It proposes three ways in which schools can better support students in preparing, mak