The Trail Map: A Goal Organizational Tool for First Generation College Students

Cailtyn Jordan, Eastern Washington University, USA

Theme: Novel applications (music, dance, military)

Poster Number: 63

Program ID: POS-1

Presentation: October 3, 2013 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Room: Napoleon


Pervious research has shown that First Generation College Students (FGCS) struggle academically when compared to their non-FGCS peers (Bui, 2002). Due to FGCS’s lack of social, financial and emotional support they tend to experience 1) lower academic performance, 2) problematic transitions, 3) poor retention 4) lower self-confidence, and 5) higher anxiety (Billson & Terry, 1982; Gibbons & Borders, 2010; Majer, 2009; Terenzini et al., 1996). Most universities have academic success programs that are in place to help students by teaching better study habits and providing information related to “college knowledge” (Bail, Zhang & Tachiyama, 2008). However, these study skills and college knowledge programs do not comprehensively address the tools FGCS need to be successful in college (Bender, 2001). Studies have shown that meta-cognitive constructs such as self-efficacy, goal setting, motivation, and resilience are all related to academic success (Hammermeister, Jordan, Briggs, Galm, & Pickering, 2012; Schunk & Gaa, 1981). Hammermeister and colleagues (2012) were able to elicit positive changes in a number of mental fitness skills (MFS) in FGCS relative to peers in a control condition using a quasi-experimental design intervention. This study aimed to explore further the idea that MFS can be of utility to FGCS when it comes to enhanced academic success. Specifically this study focused on a curriculum which intensively immersed each participant in the goal setting process using the roadmap model developed by South (2005) as a tool to more effectively prepare for classes, exams, and presentations. Over a 10-week quarter, students met with the researcher 16 times for 30 minutes each. A demographically matched control group was also used so both intra- and inter-group changes over time could be assessed. T-test results revealed differences between the intervention and control groups on a number of key mental fitness, mental health, and academic success variables.

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