For many Aboriginal Australians, tertiary education is a pathway to realise their personal and professional aspirations, yet their participation and retention rates in universities remain persistently low. Research has shown that Aboriginal students are challenged by issues associated with language, literacy, culture and identity (among other issues) as they juggle the academic demands of their courses, family responsibilities and/or work.

In response to a call for an investigation into the processes involved as Aboriginal students transition into tertiary education, a team from four universities (Curtin University, Monash University, University of New England and Charles Darwin University) collaborated to undertake the Transition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students into higher education project. The overarching aim was to identify what students and staff considered to be best practice in assisting and enabling Aboriginal students to successfully transition into tertiary education, and to also identify those aspects that may inhibit success.