1 Middle East Technical University Northern Cyprus Campus, Northern Cyprus (CYPRUS)
2 Middle East Technical University (TURKEY)
3 University of Bamberg (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3461-3470
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Attending university for the first time though generally perceived as a positive experience offering many opportunities, also involves a stressful period of adaptation process in which students go through multiple and simultaneous changes (i.e., personal, social, academic). For successful college adjustment students need to cope with these challenges and adapt to greater independence and responsibility both in their academic and personal lives. It is imperative to explore the variables which might have effect on college adjustment in order to plan and implement preventive methods to support youth in this challenging transition process and help them make a smooth transition to college life. Qualitative methods, specifically in depth semi-structured interviews were strongly recommended in exploring the adjustment process of college students because of their value in generating a deeper understanding of the experience of students which is affected by combination of multiple factors.
The present study aimed at exploring the college adjustment process of first year college students studying at a university in Northern Cyprus via qualitative investigation methods. 14 English Preparatory School students who are in their first year at the university constituted the participants of the study. 3 semi-structured interviews were carried out with the participants at the 3rd, 6th, and 9th month of their first year at the university. Data was analyzed via Consensual Qualitative Research method.
Over all findings indicated that during the 9 month period students experienced several difficulties. Academic problems, home and family sickness, and loneliness were among the most consistently experienced challenges. Regarding ways of coping with faced challenges, students frequently used active coping strategies which included positive and/or constructive thinking and figuring out solutions to one’s problems in dealing with both social-personal and academic issues. In this challenging times family and friends have become students’ prime source of support. Students emphasized the facilitative role of having a supportive social network and similar previous life experiences (i.e., living away from family, coming from a similar place of living) in their adaptation process. Furthermore, indicated that their first year experience contributed to their personal development (e.g., becoming more self-sufficient, improvement in social skills).
The experiences of participants included in the study provide insight into how to structure student support programs. Looking at the challenges experienced by the participants throughout their first year, it is thought that providing both academic and social support would help them to develop more effective strategies to deal with these challenges and hence facilitate the college adjustment process of students. Programs such as two-semester long mandatory first-year seminars that include extended orientation seminars, academic seminars with either uniform or variable content across sections, discipline-linked seminars, and basic study skills seminars could be provided.
College adjustment, Consensual Qualitative Research.