The Effectiveness Of Support Services Education Essay


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The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistic reported that more than 68% of 2005 high school graduates go to college within 4 months of graduation (Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, & McNary, 2010). Generally, almost 50% of the youth in the United States go to college (Lukomski, 2007). While in college, almost 30-40% of college students leave school without getting their degree and many of these students never return to school to complete their degree (Enochs & Roland, 2006). Evidently, out of 2.4 million students who went to college in 1993, over 1.5 million left college before getting a degree (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004). Pritchard and Wilson (2003) reported on a study conducted by Tinto which indicated that nearly 57% of college students would drop out of the first college they attended and that 43% of college students would drop out of college completely and never complete their degree (p.18). Additionally, over 50% of all students leave college in the first 6 weeks (Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, & McNary, 2010). In fact, over 40% of students don't complete college and it mostly occurs in their first year (Mattanah Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand & McNary, 2010). As a result of student dropping out of college, schools pushed for constructive programs to encourage students to stay in school (Witherspoon, Long, & Chubick, 1999). During the first year of college, it is predicted that academic success arises from successful adjustment, and withdrawal from college is associated with adjustment difficulties (Kerr, Johnson, Grans, & Krumrin, 2004). Academic success and adjustment difficulties seem to be associated with support services and social support the students receive while in school. Those students who are well involved in schools and received positive social interaction from their peers seem to adjust well in college. Kersting noted a study concluded by Pascarella and Terenzini which concluded that the more students interact with their peers and participate in schools activities; the more likely they will want to stay in college (Kersting, 1997). Although college students dropping out is becoming a common issue, it's important that this problem be examine so colleges can come up with a more effective strategies to keep students in school.

Support Services

Environmental Factor:

There were several studies conducted that indicated that students need continuous support services to becomes involved in schools and to improves their overall adjustment. Most college students tend to have a hard time adjusting to college upon their arrival. Those students who have the most difficult time transiting are encourage to participate in activities or join various organizations so they would feel like they are a part of the university community (Enochs & Roland, 2006).

Students who lived in a learning-based environment tend to have a better adjustment than students who lived in other type of environment (Enochs & Roland, 2006). Enochs and Roland reported on a study conducted by Millings and Mahmood which suggested the residence center should host programs ease the students' stress over life's' concern (Enoch & Roland, 2006). It's claimed that first years college students have a better adjustment when placed in residence housing designed specifically for them. A study conducted by Enochs and Roland (2006) examine the "relationship between living environment, gender and both overall adjustment to college and social adjustment in freshmen students" (pp.63). The two groups examined were students in "First Year Experience" housing and traditional residence halls housing. (Enochs & Roland, 2006, pp.66). The overall adjustment and social adjustment were compared across gender and the living environment. Important finding were that regardless of the types of housing, males had a higher level of overall adjustment than females (Enochs & Roland, 2006). The result also indicated that students who live in the Freshmen Experience housing have a higher level of social adjustment than students who live in traditional residence housing (Enochs & Roland, 2006). Living in a residence hall is similar to living with one's own family (Enochs & Roland, 2006). The students' developed an atmosphere of care and concern for other members on the floor and a sense of community (Enochs & Roland, 2006). Resident assistant are the foundation for this development and they serve as "older siblings and have assisted in creating a positive and warm environment in the halls" (Enochs & Roland, 2006, pp.66).

Witherspoon, Long, and Chubick (1999) "used the Environmental Deprivation Scale to identify college students who were at risk for dropping out of college by determining the educational status of undergraduates 6 quarters after they had completed the EDS" ( pp.83). The study hypothesized that students who had dropped out of college would have a lower level of functioning than students who had successfully continued and graduated (Witherspoon, Long, & Chubick, 1999). Important findings were that "student who had graduated at the time of the 6-quarter follow-up had scored lower on the EDS than those who dropped out of college" (Witherspoon, Long, & Chubick, 1999, pp. 83). Other results showed that "the less support the students receive from their surroundings, the higher the score, which reflects a lower level of overall functions" (Witherspoon, Long, & Chubick, 1999, pp.83).

The Effectiveness of Support Services:

Many researchers that examine how colleges support programs influence students to stay in school. College support programs provide many types of services such as "academic advising career and personal counseling, mentoring, cultural enrichment programs, assistance with application for graduate school, tutoring in writing and math and social gatherings" (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali & Pohlert 2003/2004, pp.258). Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, and Pohlert (2003/2004) reported on a study by Dale and Zych who found that students who participated in the program (HORIZON) were more likely to stay in school than students who didn't participate in the program. Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali and Pohlert (2003/2004) also reported on another study conducted by Wilson, Mason, and Ewing which examines students two years after using counseling services, and the results indicated that those who used the service were most likely to remain in school than those students who didn't use the service. One more study noted by Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, and Pohlert (2003/2004), Turner and Berry revealed that as a result of using the counseling support service, "students with various personal problems reported that their academic performances had improved" (p.259). These students showed "better retention rates than those of the entire student body" (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004, p.259).

Research conducted by Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert (2003/2004) examines how students' self-esteem, social support, and participation in support services affect their adjustment and commitment to stay in college. The results indicated that "students who reported higher level of self-esteem and more peer support had better academic and social adjustment" (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004, pp.263). It's also indicated that "students who more frequently utilized students support services and counseling reported high social adjustment" (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004, pp.263). Finally, students who were better adjusted to campus life were more likely to stay in school and complete their degree (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004). The results from the various studies showed that services such as tutoring and counseling, influence students stay in school by helping them adjust to college academically and socially.

Social Support

Social support is defined as "the existence or availability of people on whom we can rely, people who let us know that they care about, value, and love us" (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004, pp.257). Social support in college is potentially helpful to students for two main reasons (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004). One reason is that social supports reduce stress, anxiety and enhance well-being (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003/2004). Another reason is that social support may help in "successful coping during stressful situation" (Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, & Pohlert, 2003, pp. 257). A study noted by Grant-Vallone, Reid, Umali, and Pohlert (2003/2004), Milem and Berger found that high levels of social interaction predicted students' intent to stay in school or return to school once they dropped out.

Researchers' results indicated that social support intervention lead to greater satisfaction social life satisfaction among college students. Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, and McNary (2010) reported on a study by Oppenhimer which found that students who participated in social support interventions reported greater social life satisfaction, increased self-esteem, and decreased social anxiety. Another study reported by Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, and McNary (2010), Lamothe et al indicated that the students who participated in social support interventions reported greater social support than students who didn't participated in social support interventions. One more study reported, Pratt et al.'s found that male and female in the intervention group reported more satisfying social adjustment than the control group (Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, & McNary, 2010, pp.94).

Researchers demonstrated that peer-led supports programs help improve students' academic performance and social adjustment. "Upper-class students serving as peer advisors help" first year students adjust to college by "providing crisis intervention with issues such as drug and alcohol abuse", which is an alternative to going to the counseling center (Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, & McNary, 2010, pp.94). Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, & McNary (2010) examine the effects of a peer-led social support group intervention on college adjustment. The researchers hypothesized that "the modified social support intervention would lead to enhanced college adjustment, greater perceived social support, and less loneliness in a socioeconomically and ethnically diverse, metropolitan sample" (pp.96). The results revealed that "students in the intervention groups experienced less loneliness and greater perceived social support" than students in the control group (Mattanah, Brooks, Ayers, Quimby, Brand, & McNary, 2010, pp.104). The study made a suggestion for more intervention programs that can help prevent students' from dropping out during their first year of college.

Faculty-Student Relationship:

Students who model themselves after their teachers rather than their friends reported higher level of overall adjustment (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010). Informal interaction with faculty members about "intellectual issues" are associated with the student motivation to pursue a higher education (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010, pp.333-334). These students look up to their teachers for guidance and support; and the potential benefits that the students gain is a greater satisfaction with academic life (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010). Students who encountered positive interaction with their teachers often "report greater learning as well as satisfaction with college and enhanced intellectual and personal development" (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010, pp.334-335). As a result of this interaction, these students are less likely to drop out of college (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010).

A study by Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya (2010) examines the relationship between the different aspects of student-faculty interaction and students' motivation, and achievement; and they also examines the relationship between students' negative experience student-faculty interaction and their lack of motivation. The results showed that "students who perceive their faculty members as being approachable, respectful, and available for frequent interactions outside the classroom are more likely to report being confident of their academic skills and being motivated" (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010, pp.339). Other results showed that "students who are able to speak informally with faculty members also seem to be more likely to find the learning process to be enjoyable and stimulating and gain a better understanding of how their college education could prepare them for the job market" (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010, pp. 339). An opposing results to this showed that "students who perceive their faculty members as being less interested in them or in their learning seem to also report feeling discouraged and apathetic" (Komarraju, Musulkin, & Bhattacharya, 2010, pp.339).

Deaf Students in College

There were many studies that examine college adjustment in a general parameter. However, how does college adjustment differ from Deaf/Hard-of-hearing and hearing college students. Approximately 45% of students with a hearing loss attend college (Lukomski, 2007, pp.2). Compared to their hearing counterpart, deaf and hard-of-hearing adjust differently to college; both socially and emotionally. There are several studies that examine social-emotional adjustment among deaf and hard-of-hearing students; and the results showed that deaf and hard-of-hearing students tend to have the most difficulties adjusting to college than the hearing students.

There are many important factors that could play a role in their experience of being in college. A study conducted by Carol De Filippo (2004) examined the quality of life of deaf and hard-of-hearing college students at the National Technical Institute of Technology. De Filippo (2004) defined quality of life as "an area of nonacademic influence to which college programs can contribute significantly" (pp.12). She noticed that nonacademic factors can affect the students' quality of life such as their sense of belonging and community. She surveyed and interviewed first year deaf and hard-of-hearing and hearing college students. The students were asked to describe their quality of life which consisted of life domains grouped as "Community Well-being, Overall Life Satisfaction, Social Well-Being, and Physical Well-Being" (De Filippo, 2004, pp.17).

According to the result of the study, the most satisfying domain were "Community Well-being" and "Overall Life Satisfaction" which come in second (De Filippo, 2004, pp.18). This domain refers to students' attitude toward their community and the respects for others living within it (De Filippo, 2004). The second highest level of satisfaction refers to "the students' overall outlook on education, learning, health, self, future, and social relationships" (De Filippo, 2004, pp.18). However, "Social Well-Being", "Academic Well-Being", and "Psychological Well-Being" presented lower level of satisfaction compared to the first two highest (De Filippo, 2004, pp.18). The Social Well-being domain refers to the students' social relationship including "ease of making friends, recognizing and taking advantage of opportunities to socialize, feeling cared about, and feeling comfortable on campus" (De Filippo, 2004, pp.18). The Academic Well-Being domain refers to the students' satisfaction with their "choice of major, academic progress, relevance of their academic study, class schedule, tutoring and advising, testing and teaching methods in the classroom…" (De Filippo, 2004, pp.18). The Psychological Well-being refers to the students' "emotional and intellectual response to the environment and their approach to managing their life (De Filippo, 2004, pp.18). The domain that has the lowest satisfaction was "Physical Well-Being (De Filippo, 2004, pp.18). This domain refers to the students' satisfaction with physical exercise, quiet time, sleep, nutrition, and overall health (De Filippo, 2004). De Filippo (2004) implicated that college programs can "promote both community and personal transformation" (pp.19).

A study conducted by Lukomski (2007) conducted a study that examined social-emotional adjustment among Deaf college students. The study examined differences between deaf and hearing students' perceptions of their social emotional adjustment as they transit to college. Lukomski (2007) hypothesized that deaf college students has higher social-emotional adjustment issue than hearing college students (pp.3). Another area that Lukomski examined was "whether the underlying latent structure of social-emotional adjustment is the same for deaf and hearing individuals" (Lukomski, 2007, pp.3). The results revealed that "deaf students rated themselves as experiencing significantly higher home life difficulties than hearing students" (Lukumoski, 2007, pp.6). Also, "deaf students rated themselves as having fewer coping difficulties than hearing students" (Lukomski, 2007, pp.6). The results also revealed that deaf female females rated themselves significantly higher on worry than deaf males, hearing females, and hearing males" (Lukomski, 2007, pp.6). Lukomski concluded that "there are differences between deaf and hearing students who are transitioning to college with regards to their social-emotional adjustment" (Lukomski, 2007, pp.8)

A study conducted by Kersting (1997) examines social interaction of oral deaf students. The measure used "In-depth open-ended interviews" (Kersting, 1997, pp. 254). The students were asked questions divided into three main areas: "(1) experiences during the orientation programs students attended before classes began (2) experiences during their first year on campus, and (3) experiences since that time" (Kersting, 1997, pp. 254). Each area was divided into topics which are: "descriptions of friends, types of relationships, communication used, participation in social activities, degree of satisfaction with social life, and others" (Kersting, 1997, pp.254). The interview was recorded on audiotape and then videotaped in case the student's speech wasn't clearly understood on the audiotape (Kersting, 1997, pp. 254).

The result indicated that during the students' first year of college, they experience loneliness and isolation which is caused by rejection from deaf peers and discrimination from hearing peers (Kersting, 1997). The reason the students feel like they don't fit in with the deaf community is their lack of signing skills and their unfamiliarity with deaf culture, and some of these students receive negative responses from their deaf peer when they attempted to interact with them (Kersting, 1997). Also, the reason these students experience separation from their hearing peers is because of physical factors such as classroom setting and residential environment (Kersting, 1997). For instance, one student reported feeling that when they're in a mainstreamed classroom, they are situationally assigned to the front of the class away from the hearing peers but with the other deaf students (Kersting, 1997). Deaf and hard-of-hearing students are assigned to housing designed specifically for deaf (Kersting, 1997). Oral deaf students encounter discrimination from their hearing peers because of stereotypes that associate with deaf culture (Kersting, 1997). To prevent themselves from dropping out, they seek alternative solution to their sense of loneliness. They befriended other oral deaf students and counselors, employee from the Access Service, and communicating with family members on a weekly basis (Kersting, 1997). Despite not fitting in, these students developed relationship with their deaf and hearing peers in their subsequent years. As the years progress, oral deaf students improve their skill in signing and develop strong relationship with their deaf peers. Also, they participate in clubs and organization to appeal to their hearing peers which seen to be successful for most oral deaf students (Kersting, 1997, pp.259).

A study conducted by Stinson, Whitmire, and Kluwin (1996) examines self-perceptions of social relationships in hearing-impaired adolescents. The results revealed that hearing-impaired students, who attended more mainstreamed classes, interacted with hearing student than other hearing-impaired students (Stinson, Whitmire, & Kluwin, 1996). However, the author mentioned a contradicting result that while attending mainstreaming classes, hearing-impaired student interacted more with other hearing-impaired than hearing student (Stinson, Whitmire, & Kluwin, 1996, pp.140). The factor responsible for this result was that in some mainstream schools, some hearing-impaired students are attending mainstreaming classes' together (Stinson et al, 1996, pp.140). For emotional security and perceived social competence, the "student who were most frequently mainstreamed reported less interaction with their hearing-impaired peers, their ratings of emotional security with these peers remained high" (Stinson, Whitmire, & Kluwin, 1996, pp.141).

(Table 1 shows the variables studied in each study and the instruments used to measure them)

Table 1

Assessment Measures Used in Research on College Adjustment


Authors Variables Measures


(Enochs & Roland, 2006) Adjustment to college The College Adjustment Scale

Gender, Type of Dorm Demographic Questionnaire

(Grant-Vallone et al. 2003/2004) Self-esteem Rosenberg's Self-esteem Scale

Academic & social adjustment Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire

Level of family support Perceived Social Support-Family Measure

Support Services and program utilization General Survey

Attachment and commitment Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire

(Mattanah et al, 2010) Academic, Social, and Emotional adjustment and School Attachment

Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire

Perceived social support Social Provision Scale

Feeling of Loneliness UCLA Loneliness

Common worries and concerns related to college New College Students Concern Scale

(Komarrajus, Musulkinm & Bhattacharya, 2010) Various types of student-faculty interactions Professor Interaction Scale

(Lukomski, 2007) Discouragement, worry, poor body image, overall discomfort, problems with authority, anger or aggression, alcohol or drugs, overall trouble, home, school, and coping

Life Difficulties section of the 16F-Adolescent Personality Questionnaire

(Stinson, Whitmire, & Kluwin, 1996) Participation, emotional security, and perceived social competence Social Activity Scale


The study will addresses the different factors that cause students to leave college or to remain to graduation. The study will examine academic and social factors affecting students' satisfaction with college. One benefit is that the institute or university could use this data to assess current programs and services and to create programs and services to assist deaf and hard-of-hearing students in adjusting well in college. The study will also explore the characteristics of individuals, which indicate who is most likely and less likely to adjust well in college. The special benefit for deaf and hard-of-hearing college students is that that the finding have the potential to influence the institutes to take a step and hopefully improve their support services to help deaf/hard-of-hearing college students to get a more satisfying college experience.



At least 60 deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing college students who are enrolled in Psychology courses will be recruited through the Psychology Department SONA participant management system. Hearing students will serve as a comparison group to assess whether or not their adjustment to college follows a similar or different pattern than the deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

Materials and Measures

In addition to the consent form (See Appendix A), the participants will be asked to complete the following measures:

Demographic Questionnaire. The study will use a demographic survey that asked the participants their year level, age, and gender. The survey will specifically ask deaf and hard-of-hearing college students whether they consider themselves "deaf" or "hard-of-hearing." Furthermore, the survey will ask the participants to check any support services that they used while in college from a list on the survey. The demographic questionnaire will be used to measure students' satisfaction and the support services they used to get a better understanding of how using support services can affect student's persistence in college.

College Adjustment Test (CAT). The CAT is a 19-item survey that assesses "various thoughts and feelings about coming to college," which the student experienced the week prior to taking the test (Pennebaker, Colder, & Sharp, 1990, p.532). Pennebaker, Colder, & Sharp (1990) reported acceptable internal consistency of .70. "Two-month test-retest with 196 introductory college students was good, r = .65" (Pennebaker, Colder, & Sharp, 1990, pp.532). The test developers used factor analysis procedures to determine that the test yields three distinct aspects of adjustment --general negative affect about coming to college, positive affect or optimism, and home sickness (Pennebaker, Colder, & Sharp, 1990).

Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA). The IPPA is a self-report questionnaire developed by Dr. Mark Greenberg and Dr. Gay Armsden that evaluates the students's perceptions of their attachment relationships with parents and peers. The revised version of this instrument includes separate scales for assessing the student's trust, communication and anger or alienation in their relationships with their mother, father, or peers (Greenberg & Armsden, 2009). This study will only use the Peer Attachment S`cale.


First, the participants will complete the online informed consent form. Once the participants agree to participate in the study, they will continue on to the demographic questionnaire and then afterward, the (CAT) and the (IPPA).


I will be looking at the relationship between...

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