New survey finds students unsure how to navigate the transition to higher education

TORONTO, March 2, 2016 /CNW/ - A new survey finds that while students have a clear idea of what they are looking for from college or university, they have a tough time making the transition to the new life and academic expectations of higher education. A survey done by Academica Group for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) found that students' motivations for attending higher education were primarily career-driven, both in selecting the institution with the best reputation and in taking part in activities like work-integrated learning to gain hands on knowledge and experience in their field.

However, making informed decisions on these issues was a challenge with many students expressing frustration on being unable to find useful information on institutions, their programs of interest, financial aid and the application process.

Students also expressed having difficulty adjusting to the changing lifestyle of living away from home and the new academic expectations around workload and grades. This transition was one area where students felt their secondary school had not adequately prepared them, with 54% of the more than 1,600 surveyed students saying they felt barely or not at all supported by their high school in developing the necessary stress and health management skills for postsecondary education.

Students currently in postsecondary education feel positive and optimistic about their employment prospects and more than 60% have a specific career in mind. But they do offer many suggestions on how colleges and universities could better aid them after graduation, including expanded work-integrated learning opportunities to help grow a network of contacts, and more job fairs and career workshops.

The survey took place in the fall of 2015 with Academica Group's StudentVu panel to gather the perspectives of current students and recent graduates on their experiences transitioning into, through and out of postsecondary education.

These themes are at the core of HEQCO's upcoming Transitions conference, happening March 23 and 24 in Toronto. The conference crosses borders, sectors and silos for the best thinking on how our education sectors could work together to improve educational access, enhance quality and ensure that Canadians have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Key speakers include best-selling author Paul Tough, education leader Avis Glaze and celebrated game designer/author/inventor Jane McGonigal. For more information visit

To read the full report click here.

SOURCE Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario

For further information: Media Contact: Ainsley Matthews, Events and Publications Coordinator, Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), 416-212-5248,,,


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