Review Article

Factors that influence transition from high school to higher education: A case of the JuniorTukkie programme

Petrus Lombard
African Journal of Career Development | Vol 2, No 1 | a5 | DOI: | © 2020 Petrus Lombard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 October 2019 | Published: 26 February 2020

About the author(s)

Petrus Lombard, Department of Student Enrolment, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: This article reports on the academic and non-academic factors that influence new students’ successful transition from high school to higher education. The study was inspired by the universal concern about the low retention rates among students in higher education in general, and the high annual dropout rate of students from South African institutions in particular. In 2013, the dropout rate stood at 35%.

Objective: The objective of the study was to find out which factors. academically as well as non-academic factors influenced the JuniorTukkie group in their successful transition from high school to higher education.

Method: My research involved a case study of members of the JuniorTukkie (JT) empowerment initiative (between 2009 and 2013), and both quantitative (online questionnaires) and qualitative (focus group interviews) data was collected.

Results: The findings revealed that combinations of academic factors such as personal skills, academic skills, academic support, career counselling intervention, hard work, and perseverance to a large extent account for the successful transition from high school to higher education. Similarly, non-academic factors such as interpersonal relationship skills, positive emotions, religion, and peer acceptance contributed to students’ successful transition. Financial affairs – from a student’s financial status to various sources of financial backing – are other vital determinants in the transitioning endeavour.

Conclusion: The study illustrated that the specific challenges associated with new students’ transitional experiences demand the strategic intervention of initiatives (such as JuniorTukkie), which assume responsibility for the implementation of programmes to address all academic and non-academic transitional factors.


access; transition; academic factors; non-academic factors; high school; higher education; qualitative assessment; quantitative assessment; combined approach.


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