Higher Education Transitions : Theory and Research book cover
1st Edition

Higher Education Transitions
Theory and Research

ISBN 9781138670891
Published May 5, 2017 by Routledge
340 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

In the current era where lifelong learning is brought to the fore, higher education can no longer be regarded as an isolated trajectory within one’s educational career as many students face substantial challenges in crafting their professional future. More specifically, the transition from school to higher education and continuing to the labour market are often a difficult hurdles for many students. Almost half of students do not succeed in the first year and often withdraw from education, students are faced with a variety of contexts and may choose to study in a different (international) context, and they are then confronted with structural barriers in finding a (high-quality) job, as evidenced by increasing levels of youth unemployment and underemployment.

Higher Education Transitions aims to deepen our understanding of the transitions taking place when students enter, progress and leave higher education to enter the labour market. Drawing on an international team of contributors, this guide includes three conceptual and fifteen empirical studies which include a range of quantitative, qualitative, cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Divided into three sections to reflect each important transition phase, topics include:

  • transitions from secondary to higher education;
  • transitions within higher education;
  • transitions from higher education to the labour market. 

By considering transitions across different phases as a broad and interrelated process, this guide will be essential reading for higher education researchers, policy stakeholders and all those interested in the transitions into higher education and the labour market.

Table of Contents

List of Contributors


E. Kyndt, V. Donche, K. Trigwell, & S. Lindblom-Ylänne

Section 1: Transitions from secondary to higher education

  1. Investigating Transitions to higher education: A conceptual framework
  2. V. Donche, D. Noyens, L. Coertjens, & P. Van Petegem, Belgium

  3. Fear of Academic Failure as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
  4. D. Wagner & T. Brahm, Switzerland

  5. Different Transitions towards Learning at University: Exploring the Heterogeneity of Motivational Processes
  6. T. Martens & C. Metzger, Germany

  7. Transition to an international degree programme: Preparedness, first-year experiences and success of students of different nationalities
  8. E. Jansen, C. Suhre, & S. André, The Netherlands

  9. Study success in science bachelor programmes: predictive value of secondary school grades
  10. A. Koster, & N. Verhoeven, The Netherlands

  11. ‘Cutting Rough Diamonds’: The transition experiences First Generation Students in Higher Education
  12. J. Hope, United Kingdom

    Section 2: Transitions within higher education

  13. Transitions within university: Concepts and cases
  14. K. Trigwell, University of Sydney, Australia

  15. Student engagement and the transition from the first to second year in higher education
  16. V. Korhonen, M. Inkinen, M. Mattsson, & A. Toom, Finland


  17. The development of learning strategies in higher education: impact of gender and prior education
  18. G. Vanthournout, L. Catrysse, L. Coertjens, D. Gijbels & V. Donche, Belgium

  19. Insights into the experienced stress and self-regulation of learning of veterinary students in educational transition phases
  20. J. Laakkonen, & A. Nevgi, Finland

  21. Who succeeds at the university and how much time does it take? A longitudinal analysis at the University of Antwerp (Belgium)
  22. P. Spooren, & D. Mortelmans, Belgium

  23. Learning journeys and Master's literacies: Chinese first-degree students' transitions to postgraduate studies in the UK
  24. W. Zhao, P. Sangster, & D. Hounsell, United Kingdom

    Section 3: Transitions from higher education to the labour market

  25. Transition from higher education to the labour market: State of the art
  26. I. Grosemans, & E. Kyndt, Belgium

  27. The labour market’s requirements profiles for higher education graduates
  28. E. Braun & J-C. Brachem, Germany

  29. The transition from university to working life - An exploration of graduates’ perceptions of their academic competences
  30. T. Tuononen, A. Parpala & S. Lindblom-Ylänne, Finland

  31. How higher education may contribute to the development of graduates’ generic competences
  32. H. Knipprath, Belgium

  33. Enrolment of first-year students in knowledge domains: Unpacking transformative practices in three introductory courses
  34. C. Damşa, M. Nerland & K. Jensen, Norway

  35. Assessment of competences in knowledge work and object-bound collaboration during higher education courses

H. Muukkonen, M. Lakkala, A.Toom & L. Ilomäki, Finland


E. Kyndt, V. Donche, K. Trigwell, & S. Lindblom-Ylänne

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Eva Kyndt is an assistant professor at the Research Group of Occupational and Organisational Psychology and Professional Learning at KU Leuven – University of Leuven, Belgium.

Vincent Donche is an associate professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Training and Education Sciences at the University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Keith Trigwell is a professor of higher education at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Sari Lindblom-Ylänne is a professor of higher education at the University of Helsinki, Finland.


Review 1

  • The proposed book is very relevant and timely. Transitions to higher education and further from education to work have proved to be critical phases in individuals’ educational and career paths. Recent fast changes in society and the world of work have made them even more critical than before
  • Transitions form a challenge to the education systems and pedagogical practices, and practitioners and policy makers need research based knowledge to support students and graduates in and through these transitions.
  • The scientific merit of this book lies in its strong empirical nature

Review 2

  • This book is highly relevant to the domain of learning and instruction. It is particularly timely given current high levels of youth unemployment and high participation levels in higher education, making successful transitions paramount. The relevance of the proposal is greatly enhanced by the bredth of coverage, other texts focusing on transtions are often narrow in scope.
  • This proposal has high scientific merit. It draws effectively on a good range of relevant theoretical perspectives and it’s particularly valuable that the proposal covers both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and includes longitudinal studies.
  • The emphasis on a wide range of different student transitions is original and valuable. The chapters include a rich array of original approaches to considering student transitions.
  • The book proposal shows considerable bredth. It is particularly pleasing to see that transitions into, within and out of higher education are considered. Too many texts in this area have focused only on transitions into higher education.
  • I would expect that this book would be very influential in the field. I would certainly recommend it to my colleagues who have an interest in transtions. The authorship of the book includes many highly respected leaders in research into higher education.