This research investigated the value of collaborative work in a first year experience (FYE) course at Colorado College, a liberal arts college located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Three different questionnaires were administered to students, through an online survey in three phases. The results indicated students value collaboration because of the opportunities provided to interact with diverse people, expand their perspectives, and work efficiently with others. This research exemplifies the importance of collaborative abilities, which are skills valued by liberal arts colleges, future employers, and college students. Furthermore, this research identifies how the academic environment at Colorado College provides a context where successful collaborative learning can take place. Recommendations from this research are specific to the FYE program at Colorado College. Improvement would start with the FYE program identifying the value and role of collaborative work at Colorado College and beyond. With this recognition, the FYE program can intentionally shape students’ collaborative work experiences, which will help students to succeed at Colorado College and beyond. The recommendations from this research provide specific ways for the FYE program at Colorado College to improve students’ collaborative work experiences and learning.
A lack of adequate information given to students regarding the college application process has resulted in the phenomenon known as the college mismatch problem. College mismatch, consisting of overmatch and undermatch, represents low achieving students attending high quality institutions and high achieving students attending low quality institutions. In an attempt to explain the significance behind this phenomenon, much of the current literature analyzes the private costs of college mismatch, but falls short when analyzing the public costs. This paper explores both private and public costs by examining degree attainment and college quality in relation to earnings and civic behavior. I use individual level data from the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth cohort (NLSY97) to estimate six varying private and public models. I find significantly higher earnings for individuals receiving an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree when compared to individuals earning a high school degree or less. Furthermore, attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher positively correlates with volunteering, donating, and voting behaviors while negatively correlating with crime and divorce. These conclusions provide insight into the importance of finding the correct college match in order to maximize earnings and create more active citizens who benefit society.
Attending four-year college has become normalized in the millennial generation but graduating with a diploma is not as an established norm for students from low-income backgrounds. In this thesis I will study the effects of support groups, or lack thereof on current low-income students and alumni who attend or have attended Western College or Eastern College. In particular this study will examine their transition from an underfunded high school into their respective elite private liberal arts institution that are predominately inhabited by a white and affluent population. Using Bourdieu’s (1977) concept of cultural capital and habitus, I will study how the background of low-income students affects their relationships with the student body and faculty, perceptions of college, and their identity. I will highlight how students from low-income backgrounds must take on more responsibility and challenges to feel welcome and have a sense of belonging.