Students’ capacity to develop a sense of belonging during the transition to college is recognized as a critical aspect of student retention. A lay theory of belonging was introduced on a regional, mostly-commuter campus of a midwestern public university during a summer bridge program for 21 upper-year student mentors and 29 incoming first-year students through a social-belonging growth-mindset intervention. Participants viewed a video of upper-year students and recent alumni sharing their personal stories of gaining a sense of belonging on campus, interspersed with facts about the transition to college. Students were asked to respond to writing prompts about the video. Qualitative analysis of their responses illustrated distinctions between upperyear and incoming students’ descriptions of belonging and conditions for future belonging based on students’ level of familiarity with the campus. Implications are discussed for introducing students to psychological lay theories to create a growth-mindset orientation towards sense of belonging.
Suh, E. K., & Owens, S. (2021). Reflecting on Belonging: Stories to Normalize College Transition and Encourage Engagement. Journal of Access, Retention, and Inclusion in Higher Education, 4(1). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/jarihe/vol4/iss1/1