Date of Award

6-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Julie Apker

Second Advisor

Dr. Leigh Ford

Third Advisor

Dr. Chad Edwards

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to explore the communication of first-year students during assimilation to college. Observations of several First Year Experience seminars and interviews from both seminar and non-seminar first-year students were conducted to examine the communication during the anticipatory socialization and encounter phases of assimilation, in addition to information seeking behavior during these time periods. Results indicate that the students who participated in this study strongly believed the social or relational aspect of their assimilation, such as forming relationships, was of more importance than the academic or task aspect of their assimilation to college, such as understanding academic standards for success. The preference for social outlets stretched into academic environments, evidenced by student's desire for more group work opportunities in classrooms. In addition, students were found to actively seek information through technological sources, such as the university website, during anticipatory socialization in order to learn all they could about becoming a college student. After students entered the university they strongly preferred to seek information from their peers. Several theoretical and practical applications are suggested.

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