My current interests are post-high school adjustment, academic success, and well-being.
In addition to completing my book. I am working to have colleges across the country implement assessments into their college orientation programs.
A large number of college students projected to be in school in the 2017 academic year, namely 23 million. Using statistics from the prior year among these college goers 20% have or will have a mental health condition (totaling 4.6 million); 25% will have suicidal thoughts or feelings (5.5 million); and 62% will experience a mental health crisis on campus (14.3 million).
Mental illness diminishes the quality of life for college students, reduces academic performance and GPA, and inhibits persistence – 64% of those who leave and don’t return to complete their post-secondary education report mental illness as the reason (ibid).
Research shows that anxiety, stress, and lack of social support have negative impacts on academic adjustment (Tobey, 1997), GPA (Van Heyningen, 1997), and retention (Upcraft, & Gardner, 1989) respectively. However little has been done to incorporate these findings into supporting college students.
The scale used to ascertain mental health will include stress, anxiety, and depression inventories; mindsets regarding intelligence; stereotype threats will examine perceived threats to minorities and women in STEM fields; belonging will be most important to minorities – prior research demonstrates it is one of the greatest determinants of racial achievement gaps.
In addition, personality assessment using the Big Five Inventory will look for high levels of neuroticism and levels of agreeableness, although the other dimensions of personality can be used for exploratory analysis; social support will consider factors of family/relatives, friends/acquaintances, and student involvement on campus – these have shown to influence feelings of loneliness, psychological adjustment, depression, and retention.
This approach can greatly improve students’ adjustment to college and ensure future success.