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The purpose of this study was to explore the fears and situations of Hispanic freshmen students enrolled at a large Midwestern University who had received the Chancellor’s Scholarship and were participating in the 2011-2012 Chancellor’s Scholars Program through the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services at this University. How participation in the Chancellor’s Scholars Program aided them in the transition process was also determined. Schlossberg’s Transition Theory (1981) presented factors that influenced a person’s ability to cope with a transition: situation, self, support, and strategies, which are also known as the 4 S’s. These four categories were viewed in relation to the transition process for the Chancellor’s Scholars and to evaluate how participation in the program aided each student’s transition into college.
The University’s Chancellor’s Scholars Program was a retention program designed to assist freshmen National Hispanic Scholars, awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship transition smoothly from high school to college. The program specifically served Chancellor’s Scholarship recipients who were recognized as National Hispanic Scholars, meaning the student achieved a 3.0 grade point average or higher the end of their junior year of high school and were of at least one-quarter Hispanic/Latino decent. The Chancellor’s Scholars Program provided academic and personal support to the students through a series of academic workshops, peer mentoring, cultural enhancement activities, social programs, and academic counseling. Six participants were interviewed in order to describe their individual experiences in the 2011-2012 Chancellor’s Scholars Program.
As these first-year students transitioned into college each of their individual experiences was unique and different. Therefore, it was important to understand the transition process as experienced by individual students and how a transition program may have affected their transition process. Participants’ academic and social transitions were defined through the lens of Schlossberg’s Transition Theory, which viewed each student’s situation, self, support and strategies both pre-college and during college. This study showed that the 2011-2012 Chancellor’s Scholars Program positively influenced the transition of participants from high school to college at a large Midwestern University. The results of this study may be helpful to the University to improve transitional programs for new Hispanic students, aid in retention efforts, and help the institution understand how it can better assist Hispanic students in a successful first year of college.