Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Curriculum and Instruction


Freshman seminars are courses designed to help first year students make the transition from high school to college and help them succeed in the classroom. In 1996, a retention-based program was developed to assist a group of freshman scholarship winners at Iowa State University. The purpose of this study was to describe how attending the Hixson Scholars Seminar: University 111 impacted the students' freshman year experience. Three focus group interviews were conducted with seven seminar participants invited to attend each session. In-depth, detailed descriptions obtained using qualitative methods helped the researcher accurately describe the seminar participants' experiences.;The study addressed the following questions: (1) what are the reasons for having a freshman seminar; (2) how did the seminar affect the students' approach to their course work; (3) what specific ways did the seminar help students make the transition from high school to college; and (5) would the students want to attend a freshman seminar if they were not required to do so? The Hixson Scholars reported that the seminar helped them make the transition from high school to college by providing strategies for adjusting to college life and getting involved in extracurricular activities. The seminar assignments and activities helped the students develop academic competence, make new friends and interact with faculty and staff members. The most important aspect of attending the freshman seminar was the relationship they developed with the Hixson Scholars Seminar leader.;The students felt confident that someone at Iowa State knew them personally and cared about their academic and personal well-being. The students agreed that the Hixson Scholars Seminar impacted their freshman year experience and provided them with information they needed to be successful at Iowa State. If attendance were not required, the majority of the students said they would still want to attend a freshman seminar.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Kari Ann Ditsworth



OCLC Number


File Format


File Size

172 pages