Early Predictors of Early Freshman Year Attrition in Female Hispanic Students Page: 17
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and were retained. The percentage of those who did not stay (7.1%) was very similar to the
freshman retention rate that year, meaning that meeting the expectations of first-year students is
an essential part to retention.
Keup (2002) found similar results in his study of over 3,500 students from 53 American
universities researching the differences of the students' pre-college expectations with their first-
year experiences. The research discovered that these students did have pre-college expectations
that impacted their first-year performance. Keup discovered that these students did have a more
optimistic picture of college life prior to their freshman year than the reality provided.
Expectations dealing with co-curricular activities, rather than academic experiences, had the
greatest gap between expectation and reality. Knowing there is a gap, this institution now has
the opportunity to be proactive, to create opportunities that reduce the gap and increase the
Smith and Wertlieb (2005) took a similar approach to Keup, but studied a smaller
population. The researchers worked with 31 freshmen to compare these students' expectations
with their actual experiences. They surveyed the students at the middle and end of their
freshman year. Researchers have shown that the students had unmet, unrealistic expectations of
college, the "freshman myth," and concluded there was a "disconnect" between high school and
college. Smith and Wertlieb found that students with unrealistically high expectations,
academically or socially, have lower GPAs for their first year in college. As the students
progressed through their first year, there was a steady decline in the academic and social
expectations over time indicating that their previous expectations of college were unrealistic and
become more realistic as time passed. Some students were able to reset their expectations to
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Speed, Heather Faye. Early Predictors of Early Freshman Year Attrition in Female Hispanic Students, dissertation, August 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103396/m1/28/: accessed December 13, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .