The First Year At University: Giving Social Capital a Sporting Chance
Edith Cowan University
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education/Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research
The first year of university has been identified as an area of interest and concern for several decades because, for many students, their first year at university is also their last. The researchers developed a program based on a Sports Education model to influence the engagement and retention of first year students. The program sought to build social capital by providing opportunities for students to connect with their peers and establish supportive social and collegial networks at university. The data highlighted a number of interesting outcomes for both the first year students and mentors. First year students reported that the program made them feel welcome on campus and helped them establish support networks. The mentors commented on the benefits of their involvement in the program. The outcomes of this project have provided clear directions for future approaches to support first year students.