Thesis

Overcoming Barriers to Student Success: A Case Study of Freshman Orientation Programs

Public administrators have become increasingly interested in how student development at the collegiate level impacts potential job candidates in a wide variety of different ways. First, the public arena, specifically within the nonprofit sector, is always in need of dedicated, passionate, highly knowledgeable, and skilled employees. If attrition rates amongst colleges and universities in the United States continue to drop off, it could potentially lead to a decrease of competent employees working in the public or nonprofit sector. Student development and success at the collegiate level can be viewed as a starting point in a potential employee's journey towards impacting positive change within their communities. To help mitigate the negative impacts of student attrition, continued research into the realm of student development must include aims to help university administrators to develop action steps that will set students up for success in their collegiate career. Incoming new student orientation programs offer first-time college students with the opportunity to learn more about their new life once school starts. These programs could be linked to a more manageable transitional period for new students, which could lead to a higher likelihood of success in later years. Intensive orientation programs also offer students the chance to see the significant value of getting involved on campus and provides them with the necessary resources to become active members of their campus community. Though there is a current dynamic cannon of literature and research which delves deeper into student development, student success, and attrition rates, there still needs to be a developed method for tracking the level of student involvement in a given student population. This research project will examine the foundational research that has been accomplished in the field of student development thus far, as well as take an in-depth look at where researchers are moving the body of research as far as student involvement is concerned. Finally, the project will conclude with a series of recommendations for future research and action steps that university administrators can consider in their pursuit of helping students succeed at any college or university.

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