STECCO – Starting Tertiary Education during the Corona Crisis: A Challenge and an Opportunity

The project STECCO examined how the altered conditions during the Covid-19 pandemic affected first-year students’ every-day lives. It targeted both the challenges and the opportunities that this situation provides for the future of tertiary education.

Project Description

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed many parameters in higher education. Contact restrictions and the widespread implementation of online teaching have resulted in far-reaching consequences for students in their personal and academic lives. Changes in the lives of young adults, which are often associated with the beginning of their studies (e.g., moving out of the parental home, building a new social network), could not take place in the same way as was the case in previous years. On the one hand, this can make it more difficult for first-year students to adapt to the new phase of their lives, and it can also have a negative impact on some students’ academic and socio-emotional development in the medium to long term. On the other hand, for some students, theses altered parameters might also offer opportunities for better adjustment. The aim of this project was to investigate the adaptation of young adults to starting their tertiary education during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research Questions

  • How will emerging adults experience the transition into tertiary education during the Covid-19 pandemic?
  • How do students’ behavior and experiences change across their first semesters during this time?
  • How do students differ in their experience?
  • What lessons can be learned for the future of tertiary education?




Prof. Dr. Bart Soenens, Ghent University

Project Management

Prof. Dr. Andreas Neubauer

Project Details

Completed Projects
Department: Education and Human Development
02/2021 – 07/2022
External funding
Contact: Prof. Dr. Andreas Neubauer, Associated Researcher