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Understanding Freshman Engineering Student Retention Through A Survey

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Conference

1997 Annual Conference

Location

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Publication Date

June 15, 1997

Start Date

June 15, 1997

End Date

June 18, 1997

ISSN

2153-5965

Page Count

8

Page Numbers

2.453.1 - 2.453.8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/6850

Download Count

266

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Paper Authors

author page

Mary Anderson-Rowland

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

Session 3553

Understanding Freshman Engineering Student Retention through a Survey

Dr. Mary R. Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University

Abstract It is easier to retain a student than to recruit one. Yet, retention of engineering students is difficult. Although the retention rate of engineering students in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) at Arizona State University (ASU) of beginning full-time, first-time freshman engineering is about the same as freshman in all units at ASU, some of the engineering freshman change to other disciplines in the university. Many beginning freshmen engineering students do not have much understanding of an engineering career. Engineering is not a topic taught in middle schools or high schools. Students may choose engineering because someone told them their good math skills qualified them for an engineering career or because they were aware that engineers make good salaries. Obviously engineering is not for everyone and there will always be some engineering students who determine that they really do not want to be an engineer. However, many other students may like the engineering curriculum, but because they do not see the relevance of the beginning engineering courses, may drop out during or after the first year.

A survey was made of freshman engineering students to enable us to better understand our students. The survey was given at the end of the semester to the students in the introductory engineering class. The students were asked to select and to rank the top three statements from a list that best described their reasons for choosing engineering or an applied science.

This paper includes an analysis of why our students chose to study engineering or construction and also a discussion on any correlations between the reasons that the students chose CEAS and their retention in CEAS or the university after one year. Of particular interest is how the results of the analysis can be used to guide recruitment and retention efforts of our engineering students, particularly women and underrepresented minorities. The surveys, although developed for ASU, can be customized for any individual institution.

Introduction The retention of engineering students is a difficult problem. Of those that enter the curriculum, on average, only about half finish. Since engineering requirements for admission are often higher 1 than average, more should be succeeding . However, the engineering curriculum is very demanding and students may leave due to poor academic performance or conclude that the heavy demand of the curriculum is not worth a continued effort. Many beginning freshmen engineering students do not have much understanding of an engineering career. Engineering is not a topic taught in middle school or high school. Students may choose engineering because someone told them their good math skills qualified them for an engineering career or because they were aware

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Anderson-Rowland, M. (1997, June), Understanding Freshman Engineering Student Retention Through A Survey Paper presented at 1997 Annual Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. https://peer.asee.org/6850

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