Student Transition into Higher Education: Exploring BTEC Sport and Exercise Students Forthcoming Transition to Higher Education Taught within a Further Education Setting

Ashley Gill


As of March 2017, 241 Further Education (FE) colleges were delivering Higher Education (HE) qualifications, with the majority of students enrolled on courses such as Foundation Degrees (FDs). FDs prove to be a popular choice amongst those entering HE from non-traditional backgrounds. Consequently, it is important that we explore and understand this student demographic. The aim of this research is to explore BTEC Level 3 sport and exercise students’ thoughts, feelings and perceptions on their forthcoming transition to HE, delivered in an FE setting. The findings identified three key themes: differences are expected between the academic levels and students must make changes to meet the perceived demands; progressing to a FD is an anxious process and many barriers exist; students progress onto FDs for a multitude of reasons. A series of recommendations and guidelines have been created, which enable FE organisations to further support and improve the transitional process for HE students, and universities to better understand expectations and the needs of those students that transition to FD courses at partner organisations.

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