STAY - Successful Transition and You

The STAY project has been financed by the Scottish Funding Council as part of a wider strategy aimed at tackling retention issues for students progressing onto university study.

Recent publications from The Commission For Fair Acccess have highlighted the success of Widening Access programmes such as SWAP, in increasing social mobility and in increasing opportunities for HE level study for non traditional students.
 <nicole_fear.png> Identified alongside is the need to ensure that these students are supported as they progress to degree level study. The transition to university can be daunting for many SWAP students.  

There are fantastic services on offer to support students at each university and we aim to promote and actively encourage students to access these valuable resources. 
We are also keen to ensure that SWAP students build a strong and confident student identity. We have approached this by increasing knowledge and awareness of university life, university services and by building more resilience to ensure students ‘STAY’ the course of their studies. 

Design and development
We adopted a micro level grass roots approach which is student focused and developed a series of workshops which are accessible and relatable to students.

Work began in April 2019 filming a series of videos to drive the workshops.  <picture3.png> We employed a film crew made up of students from the City of Glasgow College which not only provided us with fantastic material, but also gave real time pratical experience for the college media students. 

The stars of our videos are former SWAP students now currently studying for a degree at one of our partner universities. 

The students were able to offer an insight into university life, to normalize common doubts and fears as well as offering practical advice and strategies for desaling with assessments and feedback. The students also discussed the importance of peer support as well as engaging with university Support Services.  <picture5.png>



Two interactive workshops were rolled out to selected pilot grous and followed up with qualitative and quantitative evaluation. The workshops were entitled 'Support for Success' and 'Study Skills for Success'. A sample of the feedback received from Focus Group participants who had taken part in the pilot is provided below:

STAY workshops? Did they help?
I really enjoyed them. They tell you to get all the help you can. I’m not being biased or anything, but I probably would never have gone to Disability or Academic help or anything like that if it wasn’t for you saying this is what you should do, or those videos of that lassie saying that…I might have been in my 3rd year before I’d gone for any help. Sometimes I think it’s just because you’re older, you feel embarrassed, you feel that you’re a dummy.  Nursing student: UWS 

Yes, definitely. One of the main things I took from that was to ask for help. If you do have questions, ask. If you need to go somewhere to see someone, just ask. The sessions made me realise there would be other people feeling the same and that I shouldn’t be embarrassed about anything or about getting help. There’s a few times we’ve laughed, me and one of the other girls…we say, of that’s Paula, that’s exactly what she was saying…about study plans and about what’s expected in assessments. Our WhatsApp groups are up and running, just for support and just to vent. So just being there to support each other too.  Social Sciences student; University of Strathclyde

Next Steps: We are extremely encouraged with the overwhelmingly positive response from students to these new initiatives and we continue to work in partnership to promote successful outcomes for all.

STAY will be rolled out across all curriculum groups in all partnership colleges by June 2020. 

We also plan to work closely with our University partners to develop an institution specific STAY component as well as developing SWAP Social Media platforms for increased student support.

UPDATE June 2020: STAY is also being further developed and extended to support our learners and partners address the impact of Covid 19. 

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