The university college center and the freshman year experience: a case study at a selected historically black university in Texas
Garrett, Carla Anne
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The purpose of this study was to identify and analyze activities, perceptions, and behaviors associated with the university college program at a historically Black University which contribute to a successful freshman year experience. The sample under investigation consisted of 15 students who attended Prairie View A&M University. The selection of students was based on the students?? current and prior affiliation with the University College program. The study participants were specifically chosen to include freshmen students who were enrolled in the University College at the time of the study and sophomore and junior level students who had been previously enrolled in the University College program during their freshman year. The study was conducted during fall 2002 and during the months of March and April, 2003. Data collection was conducted in the following manner: (1) one-on-one interviews with study participants were conducted in order to obtain data about student perceptions; (2) study environment observations were conducted with passive, moderate and active submergence techniques in order to watch and record the activities within the study environment; (3) historical data were collected in order to provide background information about the research environment.A major finding of this study is in keeping with retention theory which posits that institutions must formulate student centered programs that focus on meeting the students?? academic and social needs as early as the summer prior to the freshman year. There were a variety of factors within the University College environment that influenced student success and development. While there were many elements that were put in place by Prairie View A&M University with the intent of encouraging and promoting student success, there were underlying personal factors that the students imposed upon the system that played an integral role in influencing the students?? perceptions and outcomes.