First Year Experience Seminars: How Contrasting Models Impact the College Transition and Retention
AuthorHolliday, Matthew R.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractMost institutions of higher education utilize First Year Experience (FYE) coursework to facilitate college adjustment and student retention. FYE courses are designed to support the college transition by introducing freshman to campus resources that can help them achieve their educational and career goals; however, there is much variation in instructional design across college campuses depending on students' needs and institutional goals. This dissertation examined the differences in student outcomes based on enrollment in either academic content-specific or broad introductory FYE coursework. The first study used a qualitative method to examine resilient Honors students' perceptions of how their introductory FYE course impacted their college transition at the end of their first semester. The second study utilized several quantitative models to longitudinally assess the difference between FYE course enrollment and students' cumulative GPAs, retention, and perceptions during their junior year of college. Thematic analysis of questionnaire responses revealed that the resilient Honors students believed their broad introductory FYE course supported their social and academic transition to college by relieving stress that is commonly associated with the beginning of higher education. The quantitative study found that students who were enrolled in academic content-specific FYE courses had higher grades, retention, and scored higher on college success strategies and first-year satisfaction factor scores, compared to students who were enrolled in the broad introductory FYE courses. These findings were discussed in relation to the current literature on college adjustment, followed by a discussion of the implications for academic units, limitations of the study, and future directions for research in this area.
Degree ProgramGraduate College