Free University Brussels (BELGIUM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 3876-3885
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Student support and need-based aid, particularly in the first year of study, are vitally important to university students’ social and academic integration and achievement (Astin's, 1993; Carter, Locks and Winkle-Wagner (2013). Additionally, exploring experiences, needs and wishes of students may help to improve the quality of all students’ learning experiences and reduce students’ relative deficits in satisfaction, adjustment and performance (Rubin & Wright, 2014). Taking account of the increasingly diverse student population, this paper explores the perceptions of new entering second degree seeking students concerning support for social and academic integration. Focus group interviews (n=5) and individual interviews (n=35) were conducted between the Spring and Autumn of 2014 with transfer students (n=35) and working students (n=14) enrolled in the Faculty of Educational Sciences (Psychology and Educational Sciences) at the Free University of Brussels. Using the Appreciative Inquiry approach, the findings highlight what respondents believe to be positive about their support for integration (Discovery stage), what they want to achieve (Dream stage), and what actions they need to make their vision a reality (Design stage). Respondents suggest that student support peers need to address specific criteria for enhancing social and academic integration. The main themes discussed by respondents are: welcome activities, student ambassadors, lectures, social activities and counselling services. This article aims to prompt further discussion on the potential, value and purpose of support programs and activities for integration.
Student support, social and academic integration, student success, qualitative research, appreciative inquiry, transfer students, working students.