ERIC Number: EJ725117
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Reference Count: 6
Understanding the College First-Year Experience
Kidwell, Kirk S.
Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, v78 n6 p253 Jul-Aug 2005
Each fall, thousands of high school graduates launch into the next phase of their academic careers: college. They arrive on campuses across the United States full of hope and optimism, trepidation and anxiety. All intensely feel both the eagerness to excel and the fear of failure. The author shares his experience of dealing with college first-year students. For ten years now, he has been one of those who met these students at the door of academe each fall. First, as a graduate teaching assistant at the Ohio State University, then as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and now as the assistant director of the Center for Integrative Studies in the Arts and Humanities at Michigan State University, He has taught hundreds of freshman students in first-year composition courses, as well as in introductory literature and film courses. For the first week or two, they are simply overwhelmed by the college experience: locating classrooms and buying books, learning to live with roommates and meeting other students in the dorm, making sense of multiple syllabi and completing assignments on time, and more. Whether the student realizes it or not, the student just entered the purgatorial zone of the first-year college experience. For the vast majority of students he has taught, the problem they face in the purgatory of the first-year is the product of neither lack of intelligence nor of aptitude. Instead, the difficulty they encounter arises from the workload that each course expects of them--what students learn--as well as a transformation in the students' styles of learning--how they learn. He shares further his other experiences as well as ways that high school teachers and college professors can do to help these first-year college students. (Contains 3 notes.)
Descriptors: College Freshmen, Student Experience, Educational Experience, Student Adjustment, Student Educational Objectives, Student Responsibility, College Bound Students, Personal Narratives
Heldref Publications, Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation, 1319 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1802. Web site: http://www.heldref.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States