Date of Completion

May 2006


The purpose of this study is to understand better the support systems available to freshmen students at the University of Connecticut and how those support systems impact their connection to the university. The study involves two questionnaires, one distributed at the beginning of their first semester and a second follow-up questionnaire at the end of that same semester. Two main research questions are the focus of this study. The first question is whether freshmen who make friends on campus feel more connected than freshmen who report having fewer friends. The second question concerns whether freshmen who feel more connected to the university report stronger feelings of support than freshmen who do not feel connected to the university. This study has found that support at the university level needs to be more focused on individual students because freshmen who make friends at the university report experiencing greater levels of support. Parents, faculty, and counselors need to reexamine the way in which they provide support in order to reach those students who are not connecting with friends. The First Year Experience Program could better serve freshmen students by focusing on the relationship between students, instructor, and mentor to build friendships within the FYE class, which will foster friendships and support.