November 2007


Christopher Shon

Primary Subject Area

Education, Administration


community college, freshmen experience, orientation


This study investigated an optional new student orientation program, Freshmen Experience, at a rural, public, community college. The results of academic performance, attrition, and retention of participants and non-participants were examined through an ex post facto study of student participation over two semesters: Fall 2004 and Fall 2005. Two groups of first-time freshmen students, an orientation group and a comparison group, were tracked through their first semester and the start of their second semester to determine the programs effectiveness. Three hypotheses were tested using independent t-tests and z-tests. Results indicated that no significant differences existed between groups for the variables of academic performance (grade point average, GPA) and attrition; however, positive significant differences were found with the variable of retention. These findings have important implications for institutional program planning, the identification of potentially unsuccessful students, retention, and early alert and referral services.