Impact of the First-Year Seminar Course on Student GPA and Retention Rate across Colleges in Qatar University

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Society for Research and Knowledge Management
The first year is known to be challenging for students at university. If students fail to transition to college successfully, it can result in a low GPA and they may eventually drop out of university. Fortunately, higher education systems opt to add various types of support for students during this important transition. One possible support is to implement a first-year seminar course, a hybrid-course which teaches academic and non-academic skills that help students to be successful. Optimally, teaching students' skills for college success might help them manage their academic needs and increase retention rates. Following this proposal for best practice, Qatar University added a compulsory first-year seminar course in six colleges across different programs. The course included cognitive, non-cognitive and performance skills. In this retrospective study, we assessed the impact of this course on the retention rate at the university and students' academic performance over time. We reviewed a large sample of over 3000 students who started their college journey at Qatar University over four consecutives semesters. Students were classified into two groups to allow for comparison between those who took the first-year seminar course and those who did not take it, in terms of their retention rates and GPA. Our findings show that students who successfully completed the course had a higher retention rate, especially in the first semester. Furthermore, the GPA, for those who took the course and continued to attend the university, was higher across semesters. In conclusion, within our sample, the first-year seminar course was successful in supporting student success as evidenced by higher GPAs, and an increased retention rate. © Authors.
first-year university students, Grade Point Average, Qatar, retention rate, seminar course
Elobaid, M., Elobaid, R. M., Romdhani, L., & Yehya, A. (2023). Impact of the First-Year Seminar Course on Student GPA and Retention Rate across Colleges in Qatar University. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 22(5), 658-673.