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Non-traditional Student Retention: Exploring Perceptions of Support in a Social Work Graduate Program

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This study examines non-traditional student perceptions of social support in the context of a group intervention offered by a graduate program at a predominantly white university in the southern United States of America. The goal of the group intervention was to enhance perceptions of social support, as measured by a standardized instrument administered pre and post the group intervention. Data analysis showed no significant differences in pre–post changes in perceptions of social support between intervention and comparison groups. A follow-up survey questionnaire administered to group intervention participants provided feedback that shed light on these unanticipated results: it is recommended that future interventions for improving non-traditional student retention focus on supporting the development of social support networks among incoming and first-year graduate students.
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Keywords: Diversity; Evaluation; Higher Education; Stress; Students

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: North Carolina State University, USA 2: Wayne State University, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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