Supporting international students’ school-university transition: An analytical framework

Mr Thai Van Vu1

1The University of Melbourne, Brunswick, Australia

The purpose of the presentation is to propose an analytical framework for understanding and supporting international students’ school-university transition. The framework is formulated from an adaptation and integration of Schlossberg’s (1981) Transition Theory, Chickering’s (1993) Theory of Identity Development, and Tinto’s (1993) Theory of Student Departure. Underpinning the proposed framework is Kotler’s (2000) services perspective, which highlights the cooperative roles of the service provider and the service consumer in assuring service quality. From this perspective, services are inseparable in that service delivery and service consumption are simultaneous, meaning both the service deliverer and the service consumer are part of the service. This calls for research into the roles of both the deliver and the consumer in service quality assurance. Supporting student transition tends to be conceptualized as a unidirectional process in which the institution is responsible for the student’s successful transition. A services perspective can gear this conceptualization to a bidirectional process by which both the institution and the student need to be deeply involved in ensuring the student’s successful transition. The proposed framework can be beneficial for international students in that it provides them with a step-by-step approach to navigating their transition from high school in their home country to a university abroad. The framework can also inform institutional policies and practices in the continuous development of the operational effectiveness and efficiency of student support services for international students’ transition. For those reasons, the framework can be of interest to those engaged with student transition into higher education.


Thai Van Vu is currently a PhD student of Education at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He was previously a faculty member at the USSH, Vietnam National University – Hochiminh City. He also worked as the Dean of the Foreign Languages Department, VATC and Broward College Vietnam. His research interests include international education, international students, student engagement, and institutional governance.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

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