The relationship between continuing orientation programs and student adjustment at a private college
The purpose of this study was to determine whether a freshman orientation program has an independent relationship with student adaptation and/or retention of college freshmen. Specifically, this study sought to determine if adaptation levels can be increased when student orientation programs are enhanced to offer more intensive academic, social, personal/emotional, and institutional attachment strategies. The subjects of the study consisted of freshman degree- seeking students who were attending the selected institution for the first time. The study involved the population of traditional and nontraditional freshmen during the fall semester of 1998. Subjects were assigned to one of two orientation groups. The experimental group participated in a unique orientation program that was enhanced to offer more intensive academic, social, personal/emotional, and institutional attachment strategies. The control group participated in the regular orientation program at the selected institution. The Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ) was utilized to measure student adaptation on four-subscales following the completion of the first-semester orientation program. Retention rates from the first to the second semester were compared among study groups and subject classifications after the completion of the fall semester. The findings of this study generally indicate that participation in an intensive orientation program provides no measurable benefit to student adaptation levels, or to freshman retention, over participation in the regular continuing orientation experience. Results of the study also indicate that academic adjustment is significantly greater among nontraditional freshmen compared to traditional freshmen on campus.