Flying Start

Flying Start is a framework for facilitating undergraduate international students’ transition to university and is going to be introduced by Clare Poulson, a Teaching Fellow from the University of Leeds.

All undergraduate students must experience the transition from pre-university life into their new academic community and this transition stage is key to their future academic development and success. However, it can be far from smooth, with many students encountering problems along the way. Research suggests that this could be due to a number of factors including; a lack of knowledge and understanding about the university context and environment as well as inadequate preparation for what is involved in university level study (Briggs et al., 2012; Scanlon et al.; 2007; Wingate, 2007; Harvey et al., 2006). This session will examine some of the issues relating to the transition and acculturation of international undergraduate students as they embark on their journey into UK Higher Education. A framework used to facilitate this transition stage will be presented with examples of some of the materials used with students including; interactive online Padlets, student confidence surveys and personal development plans. The framework itself is based on Wingate’s (2007) Framework for Transition ‘Learning to Learn in HE’, which she describes as a ‘key aspect’ of undergraduate students’ transition to Higher Education. Findings from tracking research undertaken on a recent student cohort have been incorporated into this framework for further contextualisation. Finally, feedback from both students and teaching staff will be discussed together with the limitations and possible wider applications of such a framework.


Briggs, A.R.J., Clark, J. and Hall, I. 2012. Building bridges: understanding student transition to university, Quality in Higher Education, 18(1), pp.3-21.

Harvey, L. Drew, S. and Smith, M. 2006. The First-Year Experience: A review of literature for the Higher Education Academy . London: The Higher Education Academy.

Scanlon, L., Rowling, L. & Weber, Z., 2005. ‘“You don’t have like an identity …. you are just lost in a crowd”: forming a student identity in the first-year transition to university’. Journal of Youth Studies, 10(2), pp.223–41.

Wingate, U. 2007. A Framework for Transition: Supporting ‘Learning to Learn’. Higher Education. Higher Education Quarterly, 61, pp.391–405.


Clare Poulson is a Teaching Fellow and the EAP Teacher & Director of Undergraduate Pre-sessional Course.


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