Successful transitions to graduate school: Using orientations to improve student experiences in criminology and criminal justice programs
The initial transition to graduate school provides a critical opportunity for
promoting a positive educational experience among incoming students. This
study discusses the importance of this transition and then describes a novel
student-led orientation approach to facilitating successful entry of new students
into criminology and criminal justice graduate degree programs.
Results from an evaluation of this approach are presented. Analyses of focus
group and student survey data indicate that graduate students matriculating
into a criminology and criminal justice program in a southern state felt welcomed and found the information, guidance, and social networks that they
developed to be helpful. At the same time, students identified ways the orientation could be improved for future cohorts. A student-led orientation,
along with evaluation of it, provides a promising strategy for criminology
and criminal justice graduate programs to create positive educational and
professionalization experiences for their students.