What is success? Reflections on assisting BTEC students’ transitions into higher education

Presently, one in four students entering higher education (HE) hold a Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC) qualification. These vocational qualifications have played an important role in developing an additional educational pathway into universities for students often associated with under-represented groups and low participation regions, while widening participation initiatives have contributed to the increased number of BTEC students entering HE institutions (HEIs). Following on, potential approaches to support BTEC students during their first year at university were devised. One intervention has involved the development of an online module aimed to assist BTEC students’ transition from college to higher education. This article reflects upon the development of an online module implemented at a ‘selective’ university and examines what we actually define as 'success' within this context. The case study draws upon a variety of sources and provides not just an understanding of the project outcomes, but also an in-depth understanding about the more complex issues surrounding working with students to produce a successful project. Recommendations are provided for further work within this important field.