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• Stability of family relationships was important for all students.
• Rural and urban students experienced different changes in friendships.
• Shared interests were important for selection and maintenance of friendships.
• Rural and urban students used technology differently for social maintenance.
• Transition periods vary- rural students ∼ one year, urban students ∼ two years.
The assumption in the literature that the transition to tertiary studies occurs within the first year has not been tested. This study investigates the timing of the transition by comparing the experiences of domestic students from rural (n = 7) and urban (n = 8) secondary schools, using an ecological framework. Semi-structured interviews of students’ experiences revealed that the timing of the transition period can extend beyond the initial transition year, particularly for urban students who experience less immediate changes to social networks. Research and support for students in transition needs to consider more than just the first year of studies to increase student satisfaction, reduce attrition rates and improve educational outcomes.
Journal: International Journal of Educational Research - Volume 79, 2016, Pages 21–30