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Key transition points for students include entering higher education, moving between years or levels of study and progressing into employment. These are exciting times, but they can also be challenging for students and those who support them, never more so than during a global pandemic.

While many student worries feel familiar, like a lack of confidence, uncertainty about expectations, or anxiety around developing new friendships, they are complicated further by COVID-19 and the impact it has had on learner journeys since 2020.

Our Supporting Successful Student Transitions project offers positive approaches and practical solutions to help support a range of transitions, with our initial focus being on supporting students moving into higher education for the first time or returning to university in 2021-22.

Featuring new toolkits, short papers and case studies, this collection of materials will help university staff and students to address a number of key areas of concern, including:

  • knowledge gaps and student confidence
  • mindset and expectations
  • community building and learner identities
  • perceptions of value across the learner journey.

These resources will be of particular use to staff who occupy student-facing roles, including subject tutors, module and course leaders, and support services staff. In addition to workshop plans, activities and guidance for staff, a variety of the resources are designed to be used by students themselves.

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Visit our Membership Resources site now to explore this collection of new resources.

Resources from across QAA

Explore our public collection of transitions-related blogs, resources and activities from across QAA. We have also curated a collection of resources highlighting current UK-based practice relating to supporting student transitions on our Membership Resources website. If you have further examples of practice or transitions resources that you would like to share with us, please contact


In this blog post, Leon Annett, Dean of Higher Education, Cardiff and Vale College and Jane Nickisson, Head of Higher Education, Salford City College discuss the challenges involved in the transition from further education to higher education within a college-based setting. 

In this blog post, Madeleine Pownall, Dr Richard Harris and Dr Pam Birtill from the University of Leeds share five recommendations to help providers and university staff facilitate successful student transitions into university in 2021.

In the first of two connected blog posts focused on student transitions, Heather Monsey explains how the University of East Anglia is helping to support incoming students with a free-to-access, pre-arrival skills programme.

In this blog post, Dr Graeme Smilie explains how the global pandemic has created an opportunity to learn how to more effectively support more equitable and resilient learning communities of learners from a more diverse range of backgrounds.

In this blog post, Dr Alison Eales highlights a valuable collection of transition skills and strategies resources, produced as part of the Student Transitions Enhancement Theme (2014-17).

We produced this signpost document to help institutions manage their approaches to the admission of new students during the pandemic, and deliver effective transitions, whether that’s into higher education, between years or levels of study, or beyond graduation and into employment.

It includes advice from regulators and funders across the UK including the Competition and Markets Authority, previous QAA guidance, and information published by institutions about their own practice.

In the second of two connected blog posts focused on student transitions, Dr Harriet Jones reflects on student expectations heading into academic year 2021-22 and how students adjust to higher education post arrival.

In this blog post, Professor Jon Scott introduces a longitudinal study of bioscience students’ experiences transitioning to higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this blog post, Dr Alison Eales reflects on the use of digital environments to support induction, orientation and community-building in Scottish institutions.

This paper identifies the transitions providers are making and relates them to the UK Quality Code for Higher Education and its accompanying Advice and Guidance. It outlines ways in which providers can support students and builds on the advice given in QAA's initial guidance on standards and quality.

Transitions into, through, and out of higher education can be challenging at the best of times. Students making these transitions during the 2021-22 academic session will be doing so after a period of intense disruption, meaning that they may be dealing with specific, additional challenges.

This collection of Enhancement Themes resources draws together examples of practice and other resources that you may find useful in supporting students during the coming year.

With debate on apprenticeships and skills high on the agenda in higher education, the Focus On: Graduate Skills project (2018-19) was relevant and timely. Following consultation with the sector, QAA Scotland commissioned two projects to analyse the views of current students, graduates and employers on the skills developed by students at higher education institutions in Scotland. Together, the projects considered the following questions:


  • What is the sector doing well, and where could it do better?
  • How is the sector ensuring that appropriate digital skills are developed by graduates in all disciplines and subject areas?
  • How is the sector ensuring that all students (irrespective of background and different characteristics) are able to access the full range of skills development opportunities offered in higher education?
  • How is the sector ensuring that graduates are equipped to live and work in a global society?
Two reports highlighting the key findings from the commissioned work and events held during this Focus On activity are available on the QAA Scotland website.



At the start of the membership year we ran a series of webinars for members to explore student transitions, as higher education providers worked to support incoming student cohorts who had disrupted school or college education due to COVID-19.

Presentations from the webinars are available on the Membership Resources Site.

  1. Supporting Student Transitions - Working with Students Unions focused on working with students’ unions (or equivalent) around mental health and wellbeing. It also considered how to ensure an effective student representation system is in place.
  2. Supporting Student Transitions - The Impact of Student Recruitment on Student Experience looked at how late changes to students’ results impacted student recruitment, and whether patterns of recruitment are posing resource challenges for certain subjects.