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Transition to Higher Education for Psychology Students Essay


Even though transition, apparently, seems to be the transition of student from high school education or FE background to a higher education institution, actually it is much less straightforward. Hence, offering a student with an effective transition depends on a range of contributors who jointly support a student to become conversant in, participate in and be successful within a course of study.

Factors influencing transition within the psychology fields may be distinctive, but many students are applicable to a range of sciences and other fields. This analysis can serves as an introduction for helping higher education institutions and psychology students with transition to higher education.

Investigations about the first year of students in higher education have become even more essential part of higher education research to support transition of students into higher education. Studies concerning first year at higher education states that there is need to conceder significantly on the similarity between what students consider as important and what scholars believe is important for students.

It is vital to consider how diversity of students may benefit them in their live at the first year and how it may transform the character of transitional matters. Studies and scholars should focus on the importance of considering the experiences and identity which psychology students convey and to connect with the various backgrounds that these students hail from (Jackson, 2003).

Students who are going into higher education with more complex expectations on the new academic backgrounds were even ready to manage stressful conditions that they can experience. The impacts of students’ previous academic motives, study objectives, and experiences have been seen in several fields in higher education.

Scholars claim that producing a suitable climate and providing possibilities to network with peer students, tutors, and the entire university is very vital in their exposure to a different environment. There are several approaches of learning activities provided intended to encourage social interaction and lessons between new and senior students within the university or any other form of higher education.

Experiences encountered by Psychology Student

Psychology students are faced with developmental undertakings while they are growing up, but there some specific moments in life where several challenges are met by these students at the same time. The transition into high school life is one of these significant development stages. It is an interesting period that normally brings about significant gains in maturity, but it is as well a time during which several students face challenges.

This transition is a significant occasion for families also, since the families experience some major changes in relationships between the students and the other members of the family (Brubacher & Rudy, 2007, p. 34). Again, even though most families may cope with these changes, it is somewhat common that they face difficulties throughout the transition.

A challenge for university lecturers or teachers in a student-centred approach is to use the student profile and to generate teaching on ideas and previous experience or knowledge. This is an effective section of the problem-based learning in which the learning course begins from what the students think or believe.

Another appropriate section is to provide requirements in developing self directed learning in due course. Handling the beliefs of students at the first year in higher education is considered as essential element for development of professional recognition.


Most students experience psychological, mental, and physical issues while entering their new lives of educational environment. These issues are common and should be tackled with care so that they may not affect their new learning process and future career.

The learning process and activities at the high school level may have certain differences with higher education. These differences often provide great challenges to the first year students while adjusting to their new system (Brubacher & Rudy, 2007, p. 34).

Students and their families face different challenges during this transition to higher education. While high school students are in their senior level and for some who are in their end of their junior levels, there are some expectations of creating decisions concerning which higher education institutions or universities to apply to and later applying to those institutions.

These opportunities can be overwhelming since many individual challenges are tied together in them. Most importantly, under pressure from issues regarding objectives and interests in a manner that far surpasses any earlier challenges that are related with these issues.

The psychology students experience the questions about what academic fields are they interested most, and what types of social settings match their needs (Brunswick, 2012, p. 31). Other sets of challenges arise when selecting the college since it will later influence the relationships with their families.

The issue of relocation arouses where the family has to decide if the student should live at home while attending school or relocate to the school. Also, if the family decides that the student should relocate, the issue of the distance arises.

Normally, selecting an institution also creates challenging questions concerning funds for the psychology students and their families, including what families can and cannot offer and what financial liabilities the student also will have to experience or undertake (Ehrenberg, 2012). There are several challenges which students face during this transition to higher education.

To name just a few, the students in their first year at the university should negotiate a new stage and educational requirements (for instance huge lecture classes, in huge lecture halls, intensive programs and projects instead of daily tasks provided for them in high schools), coping with the new educational settings, socializing with other students of different cultures, and choosing and handling new additional activities (Ehrenberg, 2012).

They also experience challenges while developing friendships and managing their own schedules to adjust to their new learning programs. New college students should experience all these challenges while they are coping with the reality that they are moving away from their previous friends and most importantly, their families.

From a psychological perspective, to manage effectively the transition to higher education, psychology students should create efforts in creating their own distinctive identity and become more self-determining, which includes managing their emotional experiences that are formed due to their separation from parents.

These psychological experiences are challenging since, as Smart and Paulsen (2011, p. 389) mentioned, teenagers or young people do not have the comfort of attending them while social conditions, academic expectations, and other requirements remain equal. Rather, the students have to generate their identities and attempt to be self-governing specifically through managing a whole new bundle of real issues.


Provided the above challenges, it is not interesting that studies have reported that there is a decrease in emotional and social change during this transitional period. The students passing through this transitional period face difficulties and even their families undergo the same.

For instance, some of the students often respond to the problems they experience through taking on poor and risky coping skills, with some students describing their own challenges and problems by referring to what fellow students, teachers, or parents were doing wrong. Others avoid the challenges and momentarily surrender as they contend with a sense of insufficiency and deep self-doubt.

Certainly, the transition to higher education is very demanding. Studies (Brunswick, 2012, p. 31) have reported that students who are provided with encouragements and any other support from their teachers and families throughout this challenging transition period will feel firmly attached to their parents and teachers. However, the difficulties experienced during this transition period also bring about family problems.

For instance, at times when a student acts out, frequently arriving home late, avoiding homework, and performing poorly in college due their feeling of independence, the student may actually be experiencing the issue of becoming more independent. Most students undergo this transition while they are in their adolescent stage and these issues related with this stage will make their parents to get involved as well.

The parents may face some difficulties to adjust to the separation which is caused by this transition. Therefore, they may act in a manner in which they are against the achievement of better healthy independence of their children without understanding that their involvement is creating or facilitating these effects.

Most students in their first year often experience poor performances and these are caused by difficulty in coping with the new environment and financial management. The students may not manage their finances appropriately and their academic demands facilitate poor performances. The first year students work heavily to meet their demands, matched up with other students who are in their second to final years.

However, these students work hard to meet their realistic expectations of the requirements of the university or college work, but they have higher possibility of not meeting these demands or expectations, relative to other students (Fry, 2009, p. 251).

Paid work that they are engaged in also affect their academic expectations since they are likely that they have not cope with these adjustments of doing part time work and at the same time expected to follow the schedules put for them in the university.

The financial risks and expectations are linked with the higher possibilities of college drop outs since they experience challenges and difficulties in managing the academic and work commitments.

However, the severe distress of coping with academic requirements that are experienced by first year students undergoing the transition is less of a concern, provided that it is constantly poor performance before being admitted into university and during the first year of their study which is directly linked with high possibility of attrition.

Facilitating Learning in Commencing Psychology Students

All the first year psychology students undergo a period of transition as they cope with the challenges which are triggered by new learning and social experiences. Not every student has an ability to tackle appropriately these new challenges and most students find themselves leaving university because of environmental or adjustments issues instead of intellectual difficulties.

It is therefore not interesting that many studies have been directed to identify these factors that affect achievement of students at university and creating approaches to simplify the transition experience for first year students.

Factors which affect students’ achievement rates include the need for students to learn to adjust to the requirements of the faculty or curriculum, the standard of teaching offered, and students’ objective or obligation and self-efficacy (Field, Kuczera, & Pont, 2007, p. 149).

The new students differ broadly across culture, belief, age, socioeconomic status, employment experience, and academic experience. Therefore, they enter the higher education institutions with a wide range of learning experience inclinations created by their diverse cultural settings and previous high school experiences.

Provided that diversity, higher education teachers (especially those teachers attending new students) need to consider a new look at the learning settings they offer and the way they provide for the diverse learning requirements of the new psychology students. They should have a deeper knowledge of the factors that have an impact on learning to prevent creating a superficial response to diversity of psychology student.

This needs to offer learning experiences that value and acknowledge the culturally diverse environments, knowledge, experiences, skills, and learning favorites of the new psychology student (Fry, 2009, p. 251).

Psychology students are required to understand their personal learning favorites also, since this self-understanding can motivate them to become self-governing and independent students. Likewise, educators who understand their personal learning preferences turn out to be more responsive to their approaches and methods applied by other teachers in the same setting.

This can help to adjust appropriately their teaching to outfit diverse student preferences. A comprehensive learning environment that acknowledges the diverse backgrounds of the new psychology students can create the difference between achievement and failure. Therefore, the challenge is the way to offer that environment, mainly when the course is offered in various forms of delivery (Hartley & Hilsdon, 2010).


Psychology students should realize two important factors while undergoing transition to higher education. The first factor is the facility for this transition in order that the desires and expectations for students are addressed and the second thing is to provide an appropriate and informative orientation process.

As the students undergo the transition, it is very vital that the students are informed everything which is contained in the university and courses provided by the university. Some first year students often have difficulties to attend all the lectures or classes, but try to attend a majority of these classes.

Universities contain many student support services which support students meet their targets and finish their higher education. In the orientation program, the students are offered with the opportunity to cope with the campus, the teachers, workers, and fellow students. These support services help them to have a smooth and easy transition.

The psychology students who are underprivileged also are provided an opportunity to have a smoother transition. Unlike high school experiences, students with learning disabilities may have more challenges since their number are increased which may overpower their support. However, most higher education institutions have provided with solution to address their issues and challenges.

These activities are part of student empowerment projects where useful strategies are proposed so a student may create a decision that will transform his professional career and his future live. The key objectives of these programs are to provide all new comers mutual opportunities tom develop and have a successful future.

The transition is offered with a equal quantity of support and guidance from teachers, parents, and higher education institution, and will support them adjust their new learning processes.

This is an important stage in lives of students and educators should have the ability to understand and identify the challenges that students face during this transition (Morgan & Kliucharev, 2012). These processes of identifying such challenges help to provide appropriate strategies to manage these challenges and provide smooth transition to higher education.

Support from Psychologists

Psychologists are supposed to provide useful support during this demanding transition to higher education by psychology students. The psychologist determines if the student is putting more effort to adjust in a counterproductive approach and if family activities or involvement are contributing to these difficulties.

Then, the psychologist may provide recommendations concerning whether personal therapy for the university new comer or his family participation is possibly to help address and solve these difficulties.

Psychologists also may help determine whether the former institution has helpful resources and facilities to refer to, such as learning programs or centres at the institutions counseling section for some other students experiencing similar difficulties and challenges.

Psychologist, who has the sufficient knowledge and skills concerning this transition period, also support students and their families create critical decisions, such the situations where they are family are uncertain if the student is suppose to relocate or stay at home while attending college (Wiseman, 2000).

They can also help to decide if it will be appropriate for the student to take a leave of absence for a particular period of time due to the emotional or academic issues experienced during their first year in higher education institution.

Even though the issues that arise often are somewhat disappointing and at times quite serious, it is often likely to create ‘mid-course corrections’ that bring about productively navigating the transition in order that the students may advance with their individual and academic development in general.

In such instances, this transition, although challenging and difficult, winds up turning to be a stage which a significant development and growth are experienced.


The transition to higher education is an achievement and requirement to build a better and successful future and professional career by all students. The students need to create their own personal goals and commitments to meet all challenges and difficulties which are encountered in all new educational settings.

Relocations to new learning processes and environment in higher education by students pose a great threat to their educational success. This is caused by emotional and social issues that are created by these new environments and the difficulty of the psychology students to cope with new learning environment.

The challenges which moist students during this transition includes study and work commitments, socializing with other students from different cultural backgrounds, managing their own schedules, adjusting to intensive university programs and course, coping with the distance from home and away from their parents, and adjusting to new learning environment.

New students in the higher education level needs intervention to support them meet these challenges and later prosper in their academic goals. Educators, parents and the students themselves should come together to address the challenges that the students are experiencing. The psychologists also should be included in this transition to support and determine the challenges and the best way to overcome them.

Appropriate programs and activities should be introduced in their first year learning to support them tackle this issues. Orientation is a key element for students to understand and be aware of all the areas and course offered within the university.

The first factor is the facility for this transition in order that the desires and expectations for students are addressed and the second thing is to provide an appropriate and informative orientation process.

References List

Brubacher, J & Rudy, W 2007, Higher Education in Transition: A History of American Colleges and Universities, Transaction Publishers, New Jersey.

Brunswick, N 2012, Supporting Dyslexic Adults in Higher Education and the Workplace, John Wiley & Sons, Malden, MA.

Ehrenberg, R 2012, ‘American Higher Education in Transition’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 26 no 1. pp. 193–216.

Field, S, Kuczera, M, & Pont, B 200, No More Failures: Ten Steps to Equity in Education, OECD Publishing, Danvers, MA.

Fry, H 2009, A Handbook for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Enhancing Academic Practice Taylor & Francis, New York, NY.

Hartley, P & Hilsdon, J 2010, Learning Development in Higher Education, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Jackson, C 2003, ‘Transitions into Higher Education: Gendered Implications for Academic Self-Concept’, Oxford Review of Education, vol. 29 no. 3, pp. 331-346.

Morgan, J & Kliucharev, G 2012, ‘Higher Education and the Post-Soviet Transition in Russia’, European Journal of Education, vol. 47 no 1, pp. 3-8.

Smart, J & Paulsen, M 2011 Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research, Springer, Memphis, TN.

Wiseman, A 2000, ‘Navajo transition to higher education: knowledge systems, cultural values, and educational policies’, International Journal of Educational Research, vol. 33 no. 6, pp. 621–629.

This Essay on Transition to Higher Education for Psychology Students was written and submitted by user Teagan Cantrell to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Teagan Cantrell studied at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, with average GPA 3.18 out of 4.0.

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Cantrell, Teagan. "Transition to Higher Education for Psychology Students." IvyPanda, 22 Jan. 2020,

1. Teagan Cantrell. "Transition to Higher Education for Psychology Students." IvyPanda (blog), January 22, 2020.


Cantrell, Teagan. "Transition to Higher Education for Psychology Students." IvyPanda (blog), January 22, 2020.


Cantrell, Teagan. 2020. "Transition to Higher Education for Psychology Students." IvyPanda (blog), January 22, 2020.


Cantrell, T. (2020) 'Transition to Higher Education for Psychology Students'. IvyPanda, 22 January.

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