Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer

Exploring Coping Strategies of Transfer Students Joining Universities From Colleges


Students transitioning from colleges to universities in the United Kingdom (UK) into the second or third year of an undergraduate programme must quickly adapt to a new learning environment and new expectations. The process of transition includes intense demands on their time and, for many, a requirement to commute. The consequence can be a limited university experience compared to those who began their studies in the traditional first year. With the increase in the numbers of transfer students studying at universities in the UK, this study was set up to explore the challenges of transition at two universities using an online survey and focus groups. Results show that transfer students cope with their transition to university in multiple ways, categorised into the following themes: learning expectations, peer support, online engagement, cue-seeking and efficiency. By supporting the use of these coping strategies, universities can facilitate a better student experience and enhance student success.

Published: 2020-07-20
Pages:72 to 81
How to Cite
Foster, M., Mulroy, T., & Carver, M. (2020). Exploring Coping Strategies of Transfer Students Joining Universities From Colleges. Student Success, 11(2), 72-81.

Author Biographies

University of Sunderland
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Professor Monika Foster is the Head of School of Business and Management at the University of Sunderland. Monika has worked in Business Schools and higher education in the UK, Europe and Far East for many years, most recently leading Business Schools in the UK. Monika has successfully led strategic initiatives to enhance the student experience including enhanced transitions for mature and international student, and student-centred, work based learning solutions. Monika was responsible for learning, teaching and assessment strategies for international partnerships worldwide. Monika’s external profile includes the award of Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is a Certified Business and Management Educator (CMBE) with Chartered ABS. Monika’s research interests lie in international mobility, study destination choices and internationalisation of the curriculum. Monika has published her research internationally and in the UK. She is an Editor for a selection of academic journals. 

Sheffield Hallam University
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Tim Mulroy is a Principal Lecturer, and the Lead for UK & International Collaborative Programmes in the Department of Engineering & Mathematics at Sheffield Hallam University. After graduating from Salford University, Tim worked as a Research & Development Engineer at GEC Telecommunications. Whilst at GEC, he completed a MEng in Microelectronics at Durham University. He became a University Lecturer in 1987. He has led and managed engineering collaborative programmes with UK partner colleges and employers, and TNE collaborative programmes with overseas partners. He has published articles and presented papers at UK and international conferences on student transitions to Higher Education, and the enhancement of the Asian student learning experience at Universities. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and an External Examiner at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Sunderland.

University of St Andrews
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Dr Mark Carver is an associate lecturer in TESOL at the University of St Andrews and research associate in educational research at the University of Strathclyde. Following an undergraduate teacher training degree in secondary English at St Martin's College, he taught English at various schools in the UK, Spain, China, and Thailand. He completed his masters in education at Lancaster University in 2009, followed by a PhD in educational research in 2016 focused on feedback in teacher education. His research focuses on student engagement with assessment and feedback and how to conceptualise the longer-term impacts of study on graduates.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795