What Type of First-Year Seminar is Most Effective? A Comparison of Thematic Seminars and College Transition/Success Seminars
Author(s): Friedman, D. B., & Marsh, E. G.
Citation: Friedman, D. B., & Marsh, E. G. (2009). What Type of First-Year Seminar is Most Effective? A Comparison of Thematic Seminars and College Transition/Success Seminars. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 21(1), 29-42.
This study compared two approaches to a first-year seminar, special academic theme vs. college transition theme, to determine if one approach was more effective in terms of one-year retention rates, first-year grade point averages (GPAs), and student perceptions of the course experience and outcomes. Participants included 177 first-semester, first-year students enrolled in nine sections of the seminar. While the results revealed no significant difference in retention levels or GPAs, they did reveal significant differences in favor of college transition theme seminars in two factors related to student perceptions: out-of-class engagement and knowledge of campus policies. These findings indicate that the type of seminar offered is a less important consideration if retention and grades are the only outcomes that matter to an institution.