International students’ transition from pathway program to mainstream university: insights and challenges

Louise Kaktins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


This paper is one facet of a larger research project focusing on a case study of an Australian pathway program and involving both student and teacher respondents. The first exposure to higher education (HE) is a particularly vulnerable time for many international students as they cope with challenges on multiple fronts, including their acculturation into a new academic environment. Despite prolific literature on international postgraduate students, it is this formative undergraduate stage of their academic development that has been least studied, especially within the context of a pathway program. Based on focus groups of international students who have successfully completed such a program and are now undertaking a mainstream university degree program, some comparisons are between these two educational frameworks, especially in relation to how successfully this transition is made. Key concerns raised by the students include the mismatch between the pedagogical approach operating within the pathway program and that at mainstream university, the latter proving much more challenging and demanding, and the perennial difficulties with English language proficiency at an academic level, especially the impact on students’ assignments. Implications and recommendations are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 34th International Academic Conference
EditorsJiri Rotschedl, Klara Cermakova
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherInternational Institute of Social and Economic Sciences (IISES)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9788087927434
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2017
Event34th International Academic Conference - Forence, Italy
Duration: 13 Sept 201716 Sept 2017


Conference34th International Academic Conference


  • international students
  • pathway programs
  • higher education
  • international education
  • group work


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