First Year Experience

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THE FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE 2 FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE AND ENGAGEMENT Ensuring that students keep engaged in their studies throughout university is obviously a high priority for educators in higher education. The First Year Experience (FYE) has drawn much attention in the late 20th century and early 21st century (McInnis, 2000). Therefore it is imperative that educators of FYE students acquire appropriate knowledge and develop sufficient skills to assess students early in their studies (Wilson, 2003). This Literature Review describes the FYE with special attention to aspects that trigger discontentment. Subsequent research will then recommend several key mechanisms that educators of FYE students should put in place to combat attrition levels. The FYE is defined as ‘ … a time for transition, growth, and development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for academic success, intellectual growth, living independently and developing interpersonal relationships, and emotional well being’ (California State University, 2004, p.2). It is widely accepted that there are many causes of attrition rates in FYE (McInnis 2000; Swing, 2003; Kift, 2004; Krause, 2006; Kuh, 2007; ACER, 2008). There are many factors that must be taken into consideration if universities are to stem attrition rates in FYE. This literature review will focus on the following primary causes of attrition among students in the FYE. 1. Social Aspects – Developing relationships 2. Academic Skills – Critical Thinking 3. Electronic Learning – The Virtual Classroom 4. Time Management THE FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE 3 SOCIAL ASPECTS – DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS Many authors state that there is a strong connection between building positive relationships and the degree of academic success in the FYE (Krause, Hartley, James & McInnis, 2005; Nelson, Kift & Harper, 2005; Game &Metcalfe, 2003).

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