Factors Related to Persistence in Engineering: Results of a Qualitative Study.Report as inadecuate

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This paper describes a qualitative study regarding the problem of retaining students in college engineering programs where roughly 50% of students drop out. The study focuses on interviews of students who participated in the pre-engineering program at Auburn University in Alabama. Twenty-four students were interviewed representing the sub-groups males and females, African Americans and Caucasians, as well as students persisting in engineering and those switching to another course of study. Deciding factors for "switching students" included program difficulty, study skills, coping skills, and a lack of familiarity with the work of an engineer. Factors for those "persisting" in engineering were intention to stay in engineering, determination, self-regulating behaviors, coping skills, grades and mental preparedness. Most students faced difficulties in the transition to a more academically challenging college program. Suggestions were made for the development of retention programs that would concentrate on helping students become better prepared mentally for the rigors of an engineering program and help students manage the transition to an engineering major. (Contains 19 references.) (AIM)

Descriptors: Engineering Education, Higher Education, Majors (Students), School Holding Power, Secondary Education, Student Adjustment

Author: MacGuire, Susanne; Halpin, Glennelle

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=10596&id=ED398052

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