Transitional Challenges Facing University First Year Students in Kenyan Public Universities: A Case of Kenyatta University
Wang'eri, T. W.
Mutweleli, Samuel Mutua
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The intention of this paper was to investigate on the transitional challenges facing first year students in Kenyan Public universities. The challenges were investigated in terms of autonomy, social adjustment, compatibility among roommates, the feeding habits, and access to support services and adjustment to academic programs. Hurvighust’s developmental tasks theory informed the study. The study was done in Kenyatta University, a public university in Kenya. Six schools were randomly selected from fourteen from which twenty students were randomly selected from different departments to a sample of 120 students. Further, officers from key university offices dealing with student’s services and welfare were selected for interview. The results indicate that majority of students found the transition challenges in all the areas investigated. In relation to autonomy 13.33 % had high autonomy while 86.67% has average autonomy. With regard to social compatibility only 6.6% showed high compatibility and 73.33% average while 20% showed low compatibility respectfully. Data on compatibility with roommates revealed that only 6.6% were compatible, 40% average and 53.33 % low compatibility. On access to support services 20% had high access, 66.70% average while 13.33% showed low access to support services. For the feeding habits only 3.3% indicated good feeding habits while 96.6% reported poor feeding habits. Data regarding adjustment to s how that 3.3% reported high adjustment, 93.33% average adjustment and 3.33 reporting low adjustment. The findings further indicated some differentials in the challenges in relation to gender as well rural and urban orientation of the first year students. The study recommends a need for an effective orientation programme for all first year students to prepare them for university entry. In addition welfare and service providing offices-accommodation, career guidance, mentoring, chaplaincy and dean of students are important in providing useful information to help first year students settle faster in the university and make appropriate decisions regarding their academic and social life in the university.