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Title: The experience of first-time registered chiropractic students at a South African University of Technology regarding the transition from high school to university
Authors: Boosi, Keiron-Ashleigh 
Keywords: First-year university students transition;University students
Issue Date: 29-Sep-2022
There has been a vast amount of literature that has contributed to the topic of transition
regarding first-year university students. Much of these studies address the challenges
that university students face in their first-year, but few discuss the actual experience
that students may face entering university for the very first time. In the realm of
chiropractic education there has been abundant literature on the mental health of
chiropractic students, as well as the curriculum and the accreditation of chiropractic
programmes. Interestingly, unlike other healthcare professional programmes,
literature regarding the transition of the chiropractic student into the course, from
secondary school, and how that experience affects the attrition rate of the programme
is scarce. This study recorded the experiences of first-time registered chiropractic
students at a South African university of technology regarding their transition from high
school to university.
The aim of this study was to explore and understand the experiences of first-time
registered chiropractic students at a university of technology.
A qualitative, exploratory, descriptive approach was utilised for this research. A
purposive sample of 17 first time registered, first-year chiropractic students was
interviewed. Their experience regarding their transition from high school to university
was obtained through semi-structured interviews. A total of five key questions, each
relating to a specific aspect of the transition process, were used to stimulate a
discussion. The data were recorded electronically and thereafter transcribed.
Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data.
The participants indicated that, for the most part, their experience regarding their
transition into first year was pleasurable but that it was not devoid of its own set of
challenges. The participants indicated difficulties regarding certain modules, the
volume of the workload, as well as challenges that were congruent with the literature regarding the obstacle that South African students face in general. The participants
highlighted developing relationships with their peers and having a successful
orientation as positive factors in their transition experience. The SARS-CoV-2
pandemic had an additional influence on the results of this study and its effect was
particularly noted by the participants.
This is the first South African study to document the experiences of first time registered
first-year chiropractic students regarding their transition to university. These
experiences were based on a variety of external and internal factors in relation to the
university, course content and participants’ homelife environments. While participants
acknowledged and appreciated the positive factors in their experience in their firstyear, they also provided constructive feedback on matters needing improvement to
enhance the overall first-year experience in the chiropractic course at the university.
For many participants, the mismatch between their prior expectations of university and
their actual experience at university presented them with most of their challenges. It is
recommended that the findings of this study be utilised by educational institutions and
stakeholders within chiropractic education to enhance chiropractic education in South
Africa and ensure that attrition rates for this course are lowered.
Dissertation submitted in partial compliance with the requirements for the
Master’s Degree in Technology: Chiropractic, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2022.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Health Sciences)

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