The Relationship between First Year Students’ Learning Strategies and University Adjustment

by Christine Louis

Although a number of variables have been looked at in relation to university transition, students’ approaches to learning and studying habits have not yet been examined. This research was designed to examine how students viewed themselves as learners and how these perceptions were related to their transition to university. First year male and female university students completed questionnaires assessing their transition to university as well as their perceptions of themselves as learners. Although there were no correlations or significant predictors observed with both institutional attachment and social adjustment in relation to learning strategies, the other adjustment/attachment subscales were found to have predictors or be correlated with learner variables. Overall, students that demonstrated greater personal emotional adjustment reported being far less text anxious. Test anxiety accounted for 26.6% of the variance in personal-emotional adjustment. Furthermore, learner variables were more strongly related to academic adjustment as well as overall adjustment. Students reporting higher overall adjustment scores also reported greater academic self-efficacy, greater use of cognitive strategies to learn and were less test anxious. Academic self-efficacy and test anxiety accounted for 17.2% of the variance in overall adjustment. Students who reported greater academic adjustment, also reported having higher academic self-efficacy, more of an intrinsic value, a higher rate of cognitive strategy use, more self-regulation strategies, and a higher tendency to use a deep approach to learning new information. Test anxiety and surface approach were negatively correlated with academic adjustment. Self-regulation and academic self-efficacy accounted for 49.3% of academic adjustment. Overall, these results showed that learner variables are unique contributing factors in a student’s transition to university.