This study examined students’ experiences as they transitioned from middle school to senior secondary school. The Critical Incident Technique was used to explore student experiences given that students were able to tell their own stories in their own voices. It is an exploratory methodology that helps in the development of a more complete understanding of the transition process. Through interviews with 31 participants 203 discrete incidents were developed from retrospective self-report interviews examining helping and hindering experiences related to this transition. The 203 incidents were placed into nine categories and six sub-categories developed as a result of analysis of the data. This study confirmed much of the previous literature on transition, but it also extended its scope through the development of a comprehensive category system as well as the identification of new situations of extreme student anxiety and the impact of poor teacher practice. This research developed several recommendations for school administrators, teachers and counsellors which, if implemented, would likely help them to support students as they experience the transition process.
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