Submitting Campus

Daytona Beach


Engineering Fundamentals

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication/Presentation Date



To improve retention and graduation rates, institutions of higher education have become increasingly interested in the experiences of first-year students. This is of even greater importance in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields such as engineering which are crucial for U.S. global competitiveness and homeland security. Interviews were conducted with six (6) first-year engineering students at a large, predominantly White land-grant institution located in the Midwestern region of the country to study their decisions and experiences during the transition from high school to college. More specifically, the investigation focused on under-represented students within undergraduate engineering. Interviews focused on three aspects of college transitions: (a) academic, (b) social, and (c) financial, using Schlossberg’s (1995) transition theory and Golrick-Rab’s (2007) research as a guide.1,2 Findings show that prior to college, students enjoyed hobbies such as video games/sports, participated in STEM camps/internships/clubs, and took preparatory STEM courses. Participants tended to choose engineering as an academic major due to parental/family encouragement, interest in previous STEM subjects, and the financial security that engineering jobs provide. Students faced several challenges during their transition to college such as completing application materials, worrying about finances, taking more difficult/time-consuming courses, and feeling overwhelmed.


Columbus, Ohio

Additional Information

Dr. Long was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.

Required Publisher’s Statement

Long, L., L, III. (2013). Examining student success: The transition from H.S. to college of first-year engineering students. Proceedings from the 2013 ASEE North Central Section Conference, Columbus, OH.