Peer Tutoring and Communication Practice
Edited By Wendy Atkins-Sayre and Eunkyong L. Yook
Chapter 8. Connecting with the First Year Student William J. Seiler
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CONNECTING WITH THE FIRST YEAR STUDENT
William J. Seiler
One of the most serious challenges facing universities and colleges today is the dropout rate of students after the first year. While enrollments have been relatively stable, with approximately 20.4 million new students enrolling in colleges and universities each year (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2011), the transition for many high school students to higher education is often a very stressful time that can take both a physical and psychological toll (Credé & Niehorster, 2012) on the students. According to Boujut and Bruchon-Schweitzer (2009), many of these students suffer from academic stress, depression, feelings of loneliness, and an inability to establish ongoing relationships with their peers—all of which can lead to higher dropout rates. As a result, it is estimated that approximately 20 to 33 percent of all entering first year students drop out either during or after their first year (U.S. News & World Report, 2014). The reasons for students dropping out vary, but include financial, academic, and health issues, poor social fit, family problems, loneliness, and distance from home.
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