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A Course On Freshman Survival Skills

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Freshman Success/Retention Strategies

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.40.1 - 7.40.13



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Paper Authors

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Paul Blowers

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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Session 1653

A Course on Freshman Survival Skills

Dr. Paul Blowers Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering The University of Arizona


The University of Arizona has created a year-long, one credit seminar course for freshmen and transfer honors students who are beginning their educational careers in engineering. This course is designed to make students aware of the opportunities that lie ahead of them and to give them some skills to help them deal with adversity. The topics covered in this course, along with some representative assignments will be discussed.

Because our University's job fair comes early in fall semester, our first few lectures are centered on resume development. The next round of topics covers learning styles and teaching styles to help students find methodologies that may help them learn material more effectively. Following sessions highlight student leadership opportunities, how to take college exams, how to work in teams, time management skills, dealing with personal conflicts, and resources on campus for finding information. The second semester covers topics that include algorithms and their use in engineering education, consensus building, presentation skills, interviewing tips, graduate school and how to prepare for admission, research positions on campus, mentoring and being mentored, and lifelong learning.

Course topics were selected with an eye towards when students would make the best use of the materials. Also, short assignments were selected to encourage the students to reflect upon our discussions and take positive actions in their daily activities. Students are encouraged to contribute to all discussions and to provide input on other topics they would like to see in the course.

Approximately 90 students begin the first semester course, with most continuing on through the second semester. Students have consistently selected this course as the most useful course from their first year and strongly urge other students to participate in future offerings.

I. Introduction

Over time, the characteristics that can be used to describe freshmen entering engineering programs has shifted with many schools seeing a demographic shift in engineering student populations over the last few decades. Instead of classrooms being almost exclusively filled with male students, women now make up significant percentages of our engineering courses1-3. We also now have many more minorities in our engineering courses. Besides being more diverse in gender and race, students also appear to have higher entrance exam scores than several years Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Blowers, P. (2002, June), A Course On Freshman Survival Skills Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10214

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