Student integration into the academic community is a primary condition for student success and achievement. This research explores the potential enhancements of supportive activities and key peer facilitator traits to maximize social and academic integration of first year university students. Focus group interviews (n=16) were conducted with first-year students (n=93) coming directly from secondary school. Using Appreciative Inquiry, participants indicate that current informally organized support activities in a university environment during the first semester of the academic year are highly desirable (e.g. welcome activities, extra-curricular activities, co-curricular activities). The need for support in social integration in the beginning of the year and the need for support in academic integration at the end of the first semester clearly arise out of this study. When addressing some specific criteria related to the objectives, form and design, this paper suggests that peer-assisted support activities are particularly useful in increasing sustainable informal peer support and integration among students. This article aims to prompt further discussion on the potential, value and purpose of department-specific structural peer assisted support and peer learning approaches for integration of first year university students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-298
Number of pages5
JournalProcedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences
Volume228
StatePublished - Jul 2016

    Research areas

  • Peer support, social integration, academic integration, transition from secondary school, appreciative inquiry, first year students

ID: 26653392