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Publication date: 5 February 2018

Bothaina A. Al-Sheeb, Mahmoud Samir Abdulwahed and Abdel Magid Hamouda

This study intends to add to the existing body of literature on the impact of a newly implemented first year seminar in the College of Law and Business. The purpose of…




This study intends to add to the existing body of literature on the impact of a newly implemented first year seminar in the College of Law and Business. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effects the course have on students in regard to three aspects: student awareness and utilization of resources, interaction patterns, as well as, general interests and attitudes toward higher education.


The methodology of the assessment included analysis of a survey that has been conducted by the end of Spring 2014 semester. A quasi-experimental design was implemented to measure the impact of the intervention on students’ awareness and utilization of resources, interactions, general interests, and attitudes toward higher education. Through the SPSS application, the Mann Whitney U Test, and χ2 tests were used to check for significant differences while comparing the means or frequencies for both groups. For the three questions, the authors have used the 90 percent confidence level and the standard significance level p-value of 0.05 or less for statistical analysis.


The results indicated that the course had a highly significant positive impact on student attitudes and awareness of campus resources but had less significant impact on student interactions and utilization of resources. The results in this study reveal a positive impact for the first-year seminar course on student satisfaction and attitudes toward higher education as well as their awareness of campus resources. However, in terms of the course impact on student interaction, results conveyed that students who have participated in the first-year seminar course show a slightly better interaction rate with instructors, academic advisors, and close friends than those in the control group.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this study was that the sample was small. Nonetheless, it has provided valuable insights into the understanding of the social and academic impact of first-year seminars on student engagement; through the use of comparison groups, this study increased the validity of prior research.

Practical implications

The first-year seminar course evaluated in this study demonstrated the potential to support and enhance student social and academic engagement during the first year of college. Based on the results in this study, the study team recommended some revisions to the current first-year seminar model (UNIV P100 Skills for University Success). The team proposed three models for subsequent first-year seminars at this university.


This study adds to the existing literature by examining the impact of a newly implemented first-year seminar course at the College of Law and Business at this university on both academic and non-academic aspects from the students’ perspective. These aspects were selected as retention and GPA effects have been widely explored; therefore, the focus is on the less studied emotional and social factors associated with student success and retention. The results from this study can act as a guide for universities intending to introduce a first-year seminar course as it gives clear guidelines on design, content, and course implementation, which can be useful in enhancing general student motivation and attitudes toward academic study and higher education in general.


Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003


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