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Dealing With Failure And Making The Transition Between High School And College

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring First Year Students

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.343.1 - 15.343.18



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Paper Authors

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Dan Budny University of Pittsburgh

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Alaine Allen University of Pittsburgh

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Jeremy Tartt University of Pittsburgh

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

Dealing With Failure and Making the Transition Between High School and College

Abstract ℵ The transition from high school to college can be very difficult for many students. At the University of Pittsburgh, we have a system of courses and academic counseling that is designed to address these issues and help with this transition. One major component of our program is a process to help the freshman cope with academic failure. This paper discusses an approach to address the emotional issues that the freshmen students endure due to their academic failure. It was determined through this research that the freshmen engineering students must adjust their unrealistic, preconceived academic expectations transferred from high school, as well as accept academic failure and learn to react in a positive manner to their classroom performance.

Index Terms ℵ Freshman Retention, Academic failure.

INTRODUCTION Numerous studies document the importance of educating new students about their new academic setting [1 - 5]. Indeed, helping students anticipate and understand life changes can help the university realize a significantly higher first-year student persistence rate [6]. For many years, university programs have incorporated these components via the implementation of pre-college orientation programs that include:

1. Raising the knowledge level of first-year undergraduate students with regard to lifestyle changes that can occur in moving to a campus environment [7]. 2. Developing an awareness of the services offered by the university is crucial in the creation of a productive adjustment process [8]. 3. Expanding new students' knowledge of changes in status, residence, failure, relationships, and authority through both interactive discussions and written materials documenting success strategies [9]. 4. Helping students develop a positive attitude toward their first year at the university.

We use our summer orientation programs to address these items, and also help students become aware of the changes that are taking place in their lives and begin the transition in the student's immediate family structure by introducing professional counselors and advisors during the summer registration program [10 – 12]. This expansion of their family is continued in the fall semester, in our seminar course ENGR0081 and introduction to Engineering course ENGR0011, as peer mentors and faculty are added to their family structure.

Mentoring is often thought to be a lot like coaching. In fact, many mentors do find that their role as mentor takes on the task of coaching the students through the various difficult transitions from high school to college. It is important that all participants in the student’s life, including, parents, faculty and university staff, understand that during the transition from high school to college, students often experience a sense of loss for what has changed in their life or despair

Budny, D., & Allen, A., & Tartt, J. (2010, June), Dealing With Failure And Making The Transition Between High School And College Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16652

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