The role of personal tutoring in supporting the transition to university: experiences and views of widening participation sport students
Despite the large and diverse cohorts annually recruited to Higher Education sport programmes in the UK, research exploring sport students’ experiences of transitioning into university is very limited. This study was conducted in response to several years of low retention and progression rates across first year sport degree programmes at a post-92 university in the UK. Through focus groups, the study explored the role played by the personal tutor in supporting effective transition of recently enrolled first year sport students from widening participation backgrounds. Most noticeably, the main contributory factors were found to be the nurturing of social integration and use of student-centred personal tutoring approaches to do so. The study further outlined how many widening participation sport students enter university with negative previous personal tutoring experiences and have limited understanding and misguided expectations of the role. The collective findings provide academic colleagues and university management with evidence of one model of effective support for a successful transition into university. Practical implications for widening participation students studying both sport and other degree subjects are presented, as are future research avenues and study limitations.
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