Event Title

Overcoming Comfort Zone to Better the Self-Efficacy of Community College Students

Location

Golden Eagles

Department

Engineering Program

Abstract

Throughout the nation, many community college students take on responsibilities other than their academics. These students may participate in extracurricular activities, have work, have familial matters, and/or other responsibilities. Nonetheless, these activities affect students and their success. Programs in community colleges take interventional measures to eliminate factors that thwart the retention, engagement, and success of their respective students. Among the most debilitating of these factors is the deficiency of self-efficacy in students. Self-efficacy is defined as the confidence an individual has in their ability to effectively achieve an objective. A low self-efficacy in a student results in missed opportunities for professional development and personal development. Low self-efficacy creates a low sense of belonging and low to no participation. Considering that low self-efficacy is attributed to a variety of sources, there will never be one sure-fire way to eliminate this issue for every student. Although community college programs do an outstanding job in increasing student success through intervention, academically exceptional students are, oftentimes, apprehensive to join an extracurricular to their workload as it may negatively affect their academic performance to an unknown degree. Rather, these students opt to stay within a comfort zone of their current, solely academic workload and give up vital opportunities to develop professionally. However, when a student commits to an extracurricular and remains on par with their academic status, the student is rewarded with greater self-efficacy. This newfound confidence propels the student to continuously tack on commitments until the reward system ceases and the cycle is broken. Utilizing the personal experiences of the authors, this paper sheds light on the comfort zone dilemma and supports the concept of a compounding reward-system as a means to increase the self-efficacy of undergraduate engineering students by repeatedly overcoming their comfort zones. The concept of a compounding reward system can be validated by correlating individual students’ grade point averages (GPA) and course workloads to overall time commitments and extracurriculars semesterly during their time in a community college engineering program. The author’s hypothesis is that even with all the support provided by community college programs, individual student success depends on the personal decision to continuously test their limits and persevere. Regardless of all the support, the student must make a personal choice to participate, to rise up, and feel they belong to the program. This hypothesis will be answered with a question logic survey that has been designed to answer the impact of alumni, transfer students, and current students' success based on their involvement in college and its impact. No student is the same, so these answers vary across the board. We plan to conduct interviews with alumni to further hone in on the factors that attribute to success. The authors have collected preliminary data that suggests a regulated involvement within the institution can positively impact one’s academic experience. The authors are working towards collecting a larger pool of responses from a diverse group of participants before further examining the data and reaching a conclusion.

Faculty Sponsor

Doris Espiritu, Wilbur Wright Community College

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May 6th, 10:00 AM

Overcoming Comfort Zone to Better the Self-Efficacy of Community College Students

Golden Eagles

Throughout the nation, many community college students take on responsibilities other than their academics. These students may participate in extracurricular activities, have work, have familial matters, and/or other responsibilities. Nonetheless, these activities affect students and their success. Programs in community colleges take interventional measures to eliminate factors that thwart the retention, engagement, and success of their respective students. Among the most debilitating of these factors is the deficiency of self-efficacy in students. Self-efficacy is defined as the confidence an individual has in their ability to effectively achieve an objective. A low self-efficacy in a student results in missed opportunities for professional development and personal development. Low self-efficacy creates a low sense of belonging and low to no participation. Considering that low self-efficacy is attributed to a variety of sources, there will never be one sure-fire way to eliminate this issue for every student. Although community college programs do an outstanding job in increasing student success through intervention, academically exceptional students are, oftentimes, apprehensive to join an extracurricular to their workload as it may negatively affect their academic performance to an unknown degree. Rather, these students opt to stay within a comfort zone of their current, solely academic workload and give up vital opportunities to develop professionally. However, when a student commits to an extracurricular and remains on par with their academic status, the student is rewarded with greater self-efficacy. This newfound confidence propels the student to continuously tack on commitments until the reward system ceases and the cycle is broken. Utilizing the personal experiences of the authors, this paper sheds light on the comfort zone dilemma and supports the concept of a compounding reward-system as a means to increase the self-efficacy of undergraduate engineering students by repeatedly overcoming their comfort zones. The concept of a compounding reward system can be validated by correlating individual students’ grade point averages (GPA) and course workloads to overall time commitments and extracurriculars semesterly during their time in a community college engineering program. The author’s hypothesis is that even with all the support provided by community college programs, individual student success depends on the personal decision to continuously test their limits and persevere. Regardless of all the support, the student must make a personal choice to participate, to rise up, and feel they belong to the program. This hypothesis will be answered with a question logic survey that has been designed to answer the impact of alumni, transfer students, and current students' success based on their involvement in college and its impact. No student is the same, so these answers vary across the board. We plan to conduct interviews with alumni to further hone in on the factors that attribute to success. The authors have collected preliminary data that suggests a regulated involvement within the institution can positively impact one’s academic experience. The authors are working towards collecting a larger pool of responses from a diverse group of participants before further examining the data and reaching a conclusion.