Title

Occupational Patterns in the Freshman Year of College

Start Time

14-10-2009 7:00 PM

End Time

14-10-2009 9:00 PM

Abstract

Student retention is an increasing concern for American universities. The retention rate from first to second year is only 67-70% for traditional four-year colleges and 50% of students who leave college in the first year never graduate. Students who develop a strong social network, have good time management skills, and participate in meaningful leisure activities may be more likely to have a healthy transition to college and remain in school. However, new college students are often faced with increased academic challenges, the need to develop time management and independent living skills, and new social opportunities and pressures. These stressors may persist through the first year of college. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to build on a previous study of university freshmen and continue to explore the impact of the transition to college on activity choices, patterns, and satisfaction. Data collection included an online survey, experience sampling, time diaries, and in-depth interviews. Survey participants were asked about their activity patterns prior to and subsequent to entry into college, their perceptions of the transition to college, and the impact of the transition on activity choices and patterns. Experience sampling/interview participants received text messages five to seven times per day for one week asking about their current activities, completed a time diary for one week, and were interviewed one time. 42 full-time, first year students at a small, private university in Northern California students completed surveys and 5 students completed the ESM/interview portion of the study. Data is currently being analyzed. Quantitative data is being analyzed utilizing descriptive statistics and correlation coefficients. Time diary/ESM data is being analyzed using descriptive statistics visual inspection for patterns. Qualitative interview data is being thematically analyzed. Preliminary analyses revealed that students dropped numerous activities, but gained few new activities. Students who dropped fewer activities when they transitioned to college participated more frequently in leisure activities in the second semester and were more satisfied with their schedules. Students described time as a barrier to participation in preferred activities and had difficulties learning how to manage their time. Finally, students emphasized the importance of social participation in their satisfaction with college life, although also reported that social pressures could have a negative impact on occupational participation.

References

Bray, S.R. & Kwan, M.Y.W. (2006). Physical activity is associated with better health and psychological well-being during transition to university life. Journal of American College Health, 55(2), 77-82. DOI: 10.3200/JACH.55.2.77-82

Misra, R. & McKean, M. (2000). College students’ academic success and its relation to their anxiety, time management, and leisure satisfaction. American Journal of Health Studies, 16(1), 41-52. Article Access

Parker, J.D.A., Hogan, M.J., Eastabrook, J.M., Oke, A., & Wood, L.M. (2006). Emotional intelligence and student retention: Predicting the successful transition from high school to university. Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 1329- 1336. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2006.04.022

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Oct 14th, 7:00 PM Oct 14th, 9:00 PM

Occupational Patterns in the Freshman Year of College

Student retention is an increasing concern for American universities. The retention rate from first to second year is only 67-70% for traditional four-year colleges and 50% of students who leave college in the first year never graduate. Students who develop a strong social network, have good time management skills, and participate in meaningful leisure activities may be more likely to have a healthy transition to college and remain in school. However, new college students are often faced with increased academic challenges, the need to develop time management and independent living skills, and new social opportunities and pressures. These stressors may persist through the first year of college. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to build on a previous study of university freshmen and continue to explore the impact of the transition to college on activity choices, patterns, and satisfaction. Data collection included an online survey, experience sampling, time diaries, and in-depth interviews. Survey participants were asked about their activity patterns prior to and subsequent to entry into college, their perceptions of the transition to college, and the impact of the transition on activity choices and patterns. Experience sampling/interview participants received text messages five to seven times per day for one week asking about their current activities, completed a time diary for one week, and were interviewed one time. 42 full-time, first year students at a small, private university in Northern California students completed surveys and 5 students completed the ESM/interview portion of the study. Data is currently being analyzed. Quantitative data is being analyzed utilizing descriptive statistics and correlation coefficients. Time diary/ESM data is being analyzed using descriptive statistics visual inspection for patterns. Qualitative interview data is being thematically analyzed. Preliminary analyses revealed that students dropped numerous activities, but gained few new activities. Students who dropped fewer activities when they transitioned to college participated more frequently in leisure activities in the second semester and were more satisfied with their schedules. Students described time as a barrier to participation in preferred activities and had difficulties learning how to manage their time. Finally, students emphasized the importance of social participation in their satisfaction with college life, although also reported that social pressures could have a negative impact on occupational participation.