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Community college persistence, social networks, and new student orientation programs

Zoellner, George Erik

Scope and Method of Study: The purpose of this case study was to examine students' social networks in relationship to their academic persistence. Students who attended the orientation program as well as students who have not attended the orientation program were interviewed to determine whether the orientation program aided in new tie development. Additionally, the issue of students' social networks in relationship to their academic performance was explored to determine if there was a correlation between students' social networks and students' academic persistence at a mid- western community college.

Findings and Conclusions: Sixteen students were interviewed for this study. Demographic information was also obtained. The study suggested there was no direct correlation on students' academic persistence in relationship of those students who had attended the orientation program compared to those students who had not. Additionally, data revealed the vast majority of students who persisted at the institution created new weak ties compared to those students who did not persist. Community colleges should continually explore ways to assist students in creating new ties, which should aid the students in persisting at the college.