Social Integration in First Year Undergraduates: The Role of Peer Learning

Emmeline Byl, Keith Topping, Katrien Struyven, Nadine Engels

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    1 Citation (Scopus)
    111 Downloads (Pure)


    This study investigated the social integration (in relation to academic integration) of rst-year stu- dents during the rst semester at university. Six- teen focus group sessions with 93 students and 37 individual face-to-face follow-up interviews were conducted with rst-year psychology and educa- tional science students from a Dutch-speaking university in Belgium. rough the lens of appre- ciative inquiry, student-facilitated strategies such as welcome activities, campus tours, workshops, and extracurricular and cocurricular activities seemed important in enhancing both social and academic integration. Contact with older students was highly valued, but this did not involve all students and may have had negative e ects for some. Participants emphasized the need for inclusivity of activities. Information technology, such as Facebook, could provide an important informal bridge. Partici- pants also valued opportunities to develop age-peer friendships, which sustained their well-being and academic motivation throughout the rst year. However, the peer interaction and learning pro- vided did not fully address the social developmental needs among all newcomers. e consequences of these ndings for future research, peer learning practices, and institutional policy are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)85-100
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of College Student Development
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


    • university
    • socialization
    • social development
    • social learning
    • academic integration
    • transition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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