Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Hardie, M., Love, P., & Sha, Swapan. (April, 2011). Are formal peer support programs the answer for construction students transitioning to University study? Paper presented at 36th Annual Conference for Australian University Building Educators, Bond University, Gold Coast.


The transition to university life has always been problematic for some students. The self- directed nature of university study comes as an unwelcome surprise to many students who have been used to close supervision from their teachers at high school. Difficulty in adjustment can also be experienced by those students who enter university through pathways other than straight from secondary school. Students transitioning from TAFE programs may have expectations about staff availability, class size, attendance rules and teaching style. The university experience is likely to be quite different and expectations may have to be amended. Similarly, mature age students who have been in the workforce may find university requirements both unfamiliar and frustratingly ill-defined. A great deal of effort has gone into the easing of this transition process, by researchers in many fields, especially in education and the social sciences. Incorporating this cross disciplinary expertise, this paper looks at the design of a peer support study program as a mechanism for bridging the gap between student expectations and university reality, in a construction management program. Later year students in the undergraduate program become mentors to first year students and facilitate scheduled study sessions. Informal social networks may partly fill this role once students are established at university, but it is likely that many students can benefit from an organised peer support program in the early stages of their academic careers.



This document has been peer reviewed.