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Attention students! Participants in transition-to-college study needed

By Jennifer McNulty

Three years ago, psychology professor Margarita Azmitia began an in-depth study of first-year college students for the University of California. She and her research team interviewed about 200 first-year UCSC students as part of what has been dubbed the "transition-to college" study. Now, Azmitia is trying to find those same students--seniors, now--to interview one more time before they graduate.

"Our last interviews were during their sophomore year, so many e-mails and phone numbers are no longer correct," said Azmitia. "The challenge is finding them."

By posting flyers around campus and asking professors to announce her search in classes, Azmitia hopes to get word of the study to the students who participated during their first year. Each participant will receive $40 for the two-hour follow-up session.

The results of the study will help shape university policies and programs aimed at retention and academic success.

"The transition to college is exciting, but it can be stressful, as well," said Azmitia, a developmental psychologist who specializes in educational transitions. "The university wants to do as much as it can to support students while they're here."

Early results indicated that about 15 percent of participants were struggling academically and that homesickness was a bigger problem than many students anticipated. Although the participants are UCSC students, the results will be used throughout the UC system.

With initial funding from the UC All Campus Consortium On Research for Diversity (UC/ACCORD), UCSC's Academic Senate Committee on Research, and the UCSC Social Sciences Division, Azmitia secured additional grant support to follow the students throughout their college years. Her research team includes postdoctoral and doctoral students, as well as 15 undergraduate researchers.

Got to Currents article for more information about the study .

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