The role of peer advising in the first-year experience, Dissertation

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For the past 35+ years, the first-year experience movement has been working to enhance the first-year experience for freshmen and decrease first-year and following dropout. The purpose of this study is to evaluate student perceptions of the role of peer advising in the first-year experience. Through emphasis on support, integration and involvement, retention theory guides first-year experience programs usually and peer advising programs specifically. As a part of this inductive qualitative study, interviews were conducted with sophomore students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The participants reflected on their first-year experience usually and on the peer advising services they used purposely. Phenomenological techniques were used to design interview protocols, and analyze the interview transcripts and field notes. This study differs from other research on peer advising in its attention to the student's perceptions of the role and influence of the peer advising experience. The study sample added students from four peer advising programs. The majority of the participants were Wisconsin residents and female. All participants identified themselves as white. The Model of Institutional Action for Student Success (Tinto & Pusser, 2006) given a conceptual backdrop for the study. Peer advising filled many roles within the first-year experience, adding institutional support and academic and social integration and involvement. Within those two action areas, students described six themes:

1. Participants found their peer advisors to be available.

2. Participants received first-hand advice on courses and professors derived from their peer advisors' personal experiences.

3. Though peer advisors could provide social support, participants saw peer advisors' primary role as providing academic support and reassurance.

4. Participants used peer advisors both as resources and outlets through which they could learn about other resources.

5. Participants used informal peer advising to professional advising and augment formal peer. In cases where advising experiences had been unsatisfactory, participants replaced other methods of advising with informal peer advising.

6. When comparing peer and faculty advisors, participants explained peer advisors as providing more realistic and holistic advising than faculty advisors.

Posted Date: 1/11/2014 6:08:11 AM | Location : United States

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