Attention students! Participants in transition-to-college
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
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
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.
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