A comparative study of student retention and academic success based on participation in orientation and support programs
Logan, Suzanne Gatewood
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Institutions of higher education now realize the necessity of assisting underprepared freshman students in order to enable them to adjust and persist at their chosen institutions. Universities and colleges are experimenting with various types of programming for these students. Developmental theories assert that the students' present stages of development and past developmental resolutions, whether positive or negative, affect the resolutions of future developmental tasks. Orientation or support programs must be based on the developmental theories in order to meet the students where they are developmentally and assist their continuing developmental process. Environmental "fit" also has a bearing on students' adjustments to a chosen institution. Opportunities to interact with the environment are needed parts of orientation or support programs. The amount of experience students have with their chosen envirormient may play an important role in the degree of college adjustment, perseverance, and success, or conversely, maladjustment, attrition, and failure. The multifaceted adjustment process is critical for retention at an institution of higher education and success in a chosen program. Programs that enhance freshman adjustment have far-reaching effects on freshman students. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a positive affect on academic performance, persistence, and/or social adjustment and institutional attachment as a result of participation in Transition, a three-week summer program, or in Freshman Orientation, a two-day orientation program. Comparisons were made of matched pairs of conditionally-admitted students having participated in the two programs.