First-Year College Students’ Behaviors and Characteristics of Those Who Stay and Those Who Go

Griffin, Johnson, & Jogan / Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice / October 2019

Students and families on campus

This study examined the differences between first-year students who continued to Year 2 and first-year students who did not return to the second year at a mid-size, public, research university in the mid-south. The study utilized the National Survey of Student Engagement to compare the level of student–faculty interaction, experiences with the campus environment, and engagement in collaborative learning. Differences in the student engagement behaviors were examined by gender, race/ethnicity, and if the student was a first-generation college student. The participants included 1,402 first-year college students. Analysis revealed that those students who continued to Year 2 had significantly higher engagement in collaborative learning scores during their first year. However, female returners reported less faculty interaction than female nonreturners. Caucasian students who continued rated experiences with the campus environment and engagement in collaborative learning higher than those who did not continue to Year 2.