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Hitting the Ground Running

Preparation for a different kind of learning

Making the most of an undergraduate programme of study is all about being prepared. For most students, the first year of undergraduate study is concerned with learning how to learn in a very particular kind of environment; a process best characterised as ‘supervised independent learning’ in which the emphasis shifts from the former to the latter as the programme progresses. Whilst grades in the first year invariably do not count towards the final degree classification, performance in that early stage can have a significant impact on subsequent success. Hitting the ground running in terms of study skills and an awareness of institutional expectations is paramount.

Levelling the Playing Field

The government’s drive to widen participation has meant that the admissions criteria in many institutions has changed. Such that, for example, students choosing to study criminology may have little or no experience of advanced essay structure, or the construction of critical argument.  They may not have been exposed to the key sociological theories that underpin criminological theory, but which other students on the same programme may well have. Unfortunately, all too often, institutions offer little by way of accounting for this spectrum of capability in their teaching provision and so many students struggle or fail to realise their potential.

Realising Potential

Preparation is no less important for those students with a more formal skill set, if their maximum potential is to be realised. The graduate employment market is now very competitive, as more graduates than ever before compete for limited opportunities. Increasingly, prospective employers are looking beyond the degree classification and consider the more detailed account of performance evidenced in the academic transcript. Full potential is realised and evidenced through consistent performance. © Mark Edwards 2014