The first year at university: Giving social capital a sporting chance

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Australian Journal of Teacher Education, ISSN: 0313-5373, Vol: 39, Issue: 7

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Budgen, Fiona M; Main, Susan J; Callcott, Deborah L; Hamlett, Brenda
Edith Cowan University
Social Sciences; First Year at University; Social Capital; Sport; first year of university; retention; engagement; social capital; mentoring; transition to university; rural; remote; first-generation university students; Education; Teacher Education and Professional Development; Higher Education Administration
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The first year of university has been identified as an area of 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 with the aim of influencing the engagement and retention of first year students. The program sought to build social capital by establishing supportive social and collegial networks at university. Students reported that the program made them feel welcome on campus and helped them establish support networks. The data on retention highlighted the need to consider these figures across the university rather than only at course level; course retention figures were lower, however, students were retained within the university to a greater extent than in previous years. The outcomes of this project have provided directions for future approaches to support first year students at course level that can increase social capital for university students generally.