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Educational Alternatives, Volume 21, 2023

A COMPARATIVE REVIEW OF FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE PROGRAM COMPONENTS AIMED AT ENSURING SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO A LIBERAL ARTS UNIVERSITY AND A STUDENT PERSPECTIVE IN THE CASE OF AN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN THE BALKANS
Rossen Petkov, Maya Parmakova
Pages: 105-119
Published: 20 Oct 2023
Views: 52
Abstract: Although common in North America, the Liberal Arts model of education is much less prevalent in Europe and almost new in Eastern Europe. The American University in Bulgaria (AUBG) is one higher education institution offering a Liberal Arts experience to students. The university has thus designed and implemented a First Year Experience (FYE) Program, which aims to introduce students to the liberal arts tradition and the new environment and to support their transition from high school to university. The FYE at AUBG includes a multiple-day orientation program, peer advising, academic advising, tutoring, a mandatory First Year Seminar, as well as a first semester mid- term faculty feedback. This paper presents an overview of Cuseo’s ten points of focus for the development and assessment of a high-quality, comprehensive first year experience program (Cuseo, 2007), Kuh’s “High-Impact Educational Practices”, which educational research suggests increase rates of student retention and engagement (Kuh, 2008), Steward’s best practices of a FYE program (Steward, 2016), and Upcraft, Garner and Barefoot’s eight demonstrated student behaviors which define first-year student success, among others (Upcraft et al, 2004). The authors develop a comparative analysis of the four selected frameworks with the current program. This paper further examines and presents insights based on the declared perceptions of students towards the FYE program components. The data was collected in 2020 via an anonymous online internal survey, and is based on a sample of 63 respondents, from an incoming class of approximately 240 students. The paper describes how new students evaluate different program components, and how they believe these have supported specific academic, personal and social learning outcomes. The findings in this paper can serve as a valuable tool for educators and administrators in developing new, or enhancing current programs, aimed at supporting the transitioning of high school students to university.
Keywords: transitioning to university, first year student experience, first-year student success, student behaviors, student perceptions on transitioning to uni
Cite this article: Rossen Petkov, Maya Parmakova. A COMPARATIVE REVIEW OF FIRST YEAR EXPERIENCE PROGRAM COMPONENTS AIMED AT ENSURING SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO A LIBERAL ARTS UNIVERSITY AND A STUDENT PERSPECTIVE IN THE CASE OF AN AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN THE BALKANS. Journal of International Scientific Publications: Educational Alternatives 21, 105-119 (2023). https://www.scientific-publications.net/en/article/1002574/
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