Case study: Succeeding in second year


Second year students reflect on their graduate attributes and their goals for the year ahead.

Succeeding in Second Year Video Transcript [PDF]


Dr Maxine Swingler (Lecturer), Dr Jason Bohan, Stephen Shilton, Prof John Davies

Email address:


  • College of Science and Engineering
  • Level 2
  • Subjects: Psychology, GES, Maths and Stats, Physics, Chemistry

Key features

  • Medium group size (25-100).
  • Focus on raising general awareness.
  • One-off standalone session of 1 hour 30 mins in form of a lecture.
  • Very little impact on syllabus redesign.
  • Regarding staff workload, freeing up an hour-long slot required; prep and follow up are needed, for example to schedule sessions in induction week (3-4 sessions of 1.5 hours each) and to recruit students to give talks at each session.
  • No technology used (paper and slides only)  but the handout could be developed as an online document to be shared via VLE.


There is currently no induction at college level for second year students. Second year is an important time for students to reflect upon the skills gained and setting goals for employability. The main reason for introducing the activity was the importance of engaging with the careers service and appreciating the importance of internships and similar experience.


We developed a GAs reflection activity, followed by a SMART goal-setting exercise to help students identify actions they could take in second year to develop their GAs. We also recruited students who had studied abroad, or completed internships, to speak to the class about their experience and the importance of GAs. Careers manager delivered a talk on opportunities to develop GAs while the Chief adviser delivered a talk on progression in second year.


Attendance was low but his may have been due to advertising relatively late. Students who did attend engaged in the activities, worked well in groups, and enjoyed hearning about other students‚ experiences.

Analysis and evaluation

Student feedback on the session suggested that the group work and setting SMART goals worked well. The information on support from the careers service and student reports of their personal experiences of internships was most useful, followed by the encouragement to think about GAs and goal setting. When asked what they would have liked to see included in the session, students reported they would like more information on internships, more subject specific material and specific examples of GAs in practice. Main lesson learnt is earlier planning of the sessions, and strategies to encourage student attendance.


The activity is planned for induction week in September 2018, and may be extended to students who take courses in the College of Science and Engineering, but are based in the other colleges. Advice to academics would be to timetable and advertise the session earlier.