Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2016

Degree Type

Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Counselor Education

First Advisor

Rafael Outland

Abstract

This mixed-method study explored the effect of a First Year Experience program on student retention and persistence of students attending an urban community college in the North Eastern United States. Program facilitators implemented a series of psychoeducational workshops with the intent of providing students with support, resources and skills for academic success in order to increase the likelihood of student persistence and retention. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of the program, examining retention rates of students enrolled in this program in comparison to the institutional average. 125 students participated in the intervention, and completed a pre-assessment, midterm evaluation, end-of-semester survey and a final essay assessing student concerns, successes and recommendations for future first-year students. Student retention was not directly correlated to participation in this program, but smooth transitions and social support were identified as key themes to student success. This result calls for further assessment of retention practices at the institution in order to appropriately support the needs of the student population.

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