First impressions: The relationship between first-year transition program participation and students' satisfaction with their college experience.



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The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship students of differing genders and ethnic backgrounds have based on their experiences in first-year transitional programs and how those experiences influenced the students’ satisfaction with their campus community. A quantitative research study has been conducted with current college students of all academic levels to examine how their own experiences and how their college engagement were shaped by the first-year transition programs that they were required or volunteered to participate in as students. Research over the years has shown that first-year transition programs are an effective way for universities to increase retention of new students. However, the research rarely explores the entire first-year experience as a whole. Instead, it focuses on a specific program that is a part of this experience. This means that a collaborative approach of combining all of this previous research can help shed light on the ways that students transition into college. More importantly, this study explored how this transition varies from one student to the next based on their ethnicity and the gender that they identify as.

As the gender and ethnic demographics of the United States of America continue to change at a rapid rate, these demographic shifts will have a dramatic effect on the students on a college campus. It will be up to the universities to prepare for these current and future shifts in the makeup of their student body so that the students can make this transition effectively and effortlessly. With changes occurring in the ethnic makeup of the student body, this study has further determined changes that could occur within the gender and ethnic identity of students as they make the transition from high school to college. Changes to the abilities of students to become engaged has the potential to impact first-year transition programs in ways for which administrators have never before thought to prepare.



Student Engagement, First-Year Experience Programs, Student Satisfaction