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Increasing Retention By Incorporating Time Management And Study Skills Into A Freshman Engineering Course

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

FPD6 -- Early Intervention & Retention Programs

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.749.1 - 11.749.10



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Paper Authors


Steven Bradley Indiana University

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Steven Bradley earned his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas and his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University. He ran his own engineering consulting firm for 10 years. He also founded OneQuest Learning, a company committed to helping students achieve their academic potential.

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Walter Bradley Baylor University

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Walter Bradley earned his B.S. and Ph.D. at University of Texas (Austin). He has taught at Colorado School of Mines ('68-'76) and Texas A&M University ('76-'00) before assuming his present position as a Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University.

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


One of the challenges to incorporating time management and study skills into a freshmen engineering course is the need for the presentation to take minimal time, but nevertheless, be effective in reshaping the habits of the freshmen students. Baylor University has adopted an inexpensive program ($10/student) called Success4Students (S4S) that has been designed for college freshmen and sophomore students. It combines a three-hour-long seminar with 12 weeks of Internet based follow-up to help students develop the principles taught in the seminar into habits. Details about this program and how it has been incorporated into Baylor’s freshmen engineering course will be presented along with the efficacy of the program as measured by increased GPA and increased retention. The use of the Internet self assessment as an early indicator of students who are at risk will be discussed. Finally, preliminary data on the relative importance of various principles taught in the course to students’ academic success will also be presented.

Introduction Table 1. High School vs. College Many studies have determined that the most common reason that outstanding high school students see their GPA drop by ~1.0 during their freshmen year in college1 is their lack of time management and study skills.2-4 As Table 1 illustrates, learning in high school is primarily in class while a significant part of learning in college is outside of class, requiring up to 500% more outside study time than was required in high school. Furthermore, the much faster pace of presentation of material in college and the larger intervals between exams make the usual high school strategy of procrastinating and then cramming untenable.

Poor time management and study skills are particularly damaging to retention in engineering, where the academic demands are higher than for most majors, temping students to change majors rather than change their approach to managing their time and mastering their course work.

The results of three studies at Baylor University involving freshmen Engineering students, freshmen Computer Science (ECS) students, and Air Force ROTC students will be presented. A study conducted at Texas A&M University involving ROTC students will also be included. All four studies involved the use a time management and study skills seminar program called Success4Students.

Bradley, S., & Bradley, W. (2006, June), Increasing Retention By Incorporating Time Management And Study Skills Into A Freshman Engineering Course Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1064

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