Freshman Experience: Improving Retention in Engineering Technology

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



According to LeButte (1994), the fields of engineering and engineering technology both reported a decline in enrollment at almost all levels in the fall of 1993. Because of this low number of incoming freshman, it is extremely vital that every effort is made to retain those students who are enrolling in engineering and engineering technology. Retention is a group effort. It requires support and participation from everyone associated with the university from the president to the custodians, and includes secretaries and other students. It is the mission of The Freshmen Experience to plant the seed that will enable freshmen to achieve their highest level of success. To assist in these efforts, the Department of Engineering Technology at East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, TN developed a freshman orientation course (The Freshman Experience) in the fall of 1994. The course's primary purpose is to decrease the attrition rate of engineering technology students at ETSU, while improving their success within the department. The goals of the course include: 1) engaging students in activities that will better introduce them to the university and the engineering technology department, 2) fostering relationships between students and faculty/staff by promoting activities of socialization outside of the classroom, and 3) providing students with a department mentor. It is the mission of the Freshman Experience to plant the seed.