ERIC Number: ED216586
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Freshman Attrition and the Residential Context.
Terenzini, Patrick T.; Pascarella, Ernest T.
The influence on freshman student attrition of the group with whom a student lives (i.e., the composition or contextual character of the collegiate residence unit) was investigated. Based on Tinto's (1975) model of college student attrition, a longitudinal study was conducted at a large, independent, residential university in New York State having a total undergraduate enrollment of approximately 10,000. Responses from 1,457 students to an initial questionnaire were evaluated in the summer of 1976 to assess students' expectations of a variety of aspects of the college experience, as well as selected background information. During the spring semester of 1977, a second questionnaire sought information on the reality of college experience. Usable responses were received from 763 freshmen. After controlling for students' precollege characteristics and individual levels of academic and social integration in the institution, the residence unit context was found to be reliably related to attrition/retention among men, but not among women. For men, those living in a residence unit characterized by comparatively higher levels of occupant commitment to the institution and to personal goals were significantly more likely to enroll as sophomores than were freshmen in units with lower levels of commitment among the residents. The results suggest that in assessing the influence of residence arrangements on attrition (or on any other educational outcome), the influence of the context of the residence can be differentiated (at least for men) for the influence of the unit's type (e.g., dormitory, fraternity/sorority). (SW)
Descriptors: Academic Persistence, College Environment, College Freshmen, College Housing, Dormitories, Females, Higher Education, Longitudinal Studies, Males, On Campus Students, Peer Influence, Private Colleges, Residential Colleges, Student Attitudes, Student Attrition, Student Experience, Student Motivation
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New York, NY, March 1982).