The evaluation of effectiveness of school-based small group mentoring system : Discovery Scholars Program at UT Austin
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Previous studies have found that students’ college experiences differ vastly depending on their socioeconomic status (SES), not only in their academic achievement (Chen & Carroll, 2005; Harackiewicz et al., 2014), but also in the wholesome process of the college experience, including college preparation and socio-cultural practices while at college (Engle & Tinto, 2008; Merritt, 2008). The present study examines the effectiveness of a small-group mentoring program, Discovery Scholars Program, targeted for students identified as at-risk due to SES and lower entrance scores at the University of Texas at Austin. Through exploring the survey data collected as part of the program, the current study explored the following research questions: 1) Did the students engage in and benefit from DSP events and feel supported by the DSP groups? 2) Did the DSP program help students develop academic skills necessary for college life? 3) Did the DSP program help students feel more comfortable and confident as a part of the UT community? The results showed that, while more long-term goals of the program were difficult to measure, the program succeeded in helping students develop social support groups and academic skills that aided in their adjustment process to college.