Freshman interest group participation and second year academic success of engineering students
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Students in their second year of college experience changes in support that can negatively impact their success. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as the sophomore slump, which can manifest itself as a decline in success with regard to changes in grade point average. Typically, higher education institutions provide support for students that focus on positive learning outcomes during their first year in college. One specific type of first-year success initiatives is Freshman Interest Groups which combine the shared academic experiences of freshman learning communities with a residential component. This study investigates whether Freshman Interest Groups at the University of Missouri are related to second-year academic success for students who declared an engineering major during their first year of study. Specifically, a regression-based statistical model correlates first-year participation in a Freshman Interest Group with second-year academic success (GPA, credit hours attempted, and credit hours earned). The sample draws upon first-year engineering majors at the University of Missouri for the years 2013-2016. The results indicate that Freshman Interest Group participation had no significant relationship with second-year academic success. One explanation of these results is that engineering students who participated in a Freshman Interest Group had stronger academic backgrounds (ACT subtests and high school core GPA) than students who did not participate in a Freshman Interest Group.
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