They’re Here, Now How Do You Keep Them?: Lessons Learned with First Year College Students

They’re Here, Now How Do You Keep Them?: Lessons Learned with First Year College Students

Ruth Gannon Cook (DePaul University School for New Learning, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4014-6.ch007
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Abstract

This is a case study of a class of first year traditional college-age students enrolled in a class that assessed measures to orient new students and enlist them in becoming committed to completing their degrees. The motivation of the university that designed the course was two-fold: to help students develop good time management and study skills; and to nurture student loyalty to retain them through graduation at this university. The study followed a small class of 18-20 year old first year students through their first semester at a mid-sized western public university. The results of the study indicated that while many factors affect students’ attitudes and retention throughout their college years, simple measures of enlistment and peer-mentoring fared best to positively influence student attitudes and responses in the college-orientation class; and, peer involvement offered the most promise of future brand commitment to student retention at the university.
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A Review Of The Research On Successful Marketing And Retention

Research on marketing to pre-college students varied extensively, but what seemed to be predominant was the extensive research conducted on Internet marketing geared to the 16-18 year old, junior-senior high school, age base (Bonnema & Van der Waldt, 2008; Fong, 2009; Ho & Hung, 2008; Bonnema & Van der Waldt, 2008; Johnstone, Ewell, & Paulson, 2002; Taylor, Behherer, & Halstead, 2003; Jones, 2003; Molnar, Boninger, Wilkinson, & Fogarty, 2008; Noel-Levitz, 2007; Shaik, 2006; Yang, 2006). Once the students arrived, there were the usual welcome and orientation activities, but there were also freshman events and informal activities that were thoughtfully planned to enlist students to become involved in campus life. In addition, the university administration and faculty decided to offer a course that was offered over an entire semester, one that would address not only how to develop good study habits, but also how to become more aware of moral and ethical decisions, how to become better at communicating with others, and how to develop better personal saving and social habits. They chose a comprehensive textbook that included all of those components (Sherfield & Moody, 2011), and in addition, developed an extensive array of assignments geared to require students’ participation (Appendix B).

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