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Friday, June 20 • 10:30am - 11:00am
CON11.03 – My Parents Just Don’t Understand: Increasing First Generation Student Retention Rates (Room A239)

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Research has shown that First Generation Students (FGS), or students whose parents did not attend institutions of higher education, are at a greater risk of dropping out of university. Some estimates put the number above 50%. This is bad for all sorts of reasons, but most important is the detrimental impact that this has on the individual. One of the major reasons for this retention issue has to do with an insufficient support network. When this is coupled with increased pressures from family members to perform at University, because university is seen as an investment (“you’ve got to go to university in order to get a job”, “what are you going to do with a degree in that?”), then students are left with no model to follow and no support network for the specific issues that they face. In order to provide role models and a support network, the First Generation Student Ambassador program was brought together through Writing Services and Student Affairs at the University of Guelph as part of a larger project funded by the Ministry of Education. The Writing Services project focuses on increasing self-efficacy on three levels: basic knowledge of campus resources, improved writing skills, and community outreach and engagement through social media projects.

The presentation will begin with a literature review of best practices across North America for increasing FGS retention. Based on the work of Albert Bandura, self-efficacy will be identified as one of the most important factors that influence retention rates. This background theory will be coupled with specific practices that were used in order to increase feelings of self-efficacy. Part of the intent of this project is to make participants aware of FGS as a demographic group and also to start a broader conversation about increasing retention rates overall.

Friday June 20, 2014 10:30am - 11:00am EDT
A239 McArthur Hall

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