Sense of peer belonging and institutional acceptance in the first year: The role of high-impact practices

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In this study we examined the role that high-impact practices play in shaping first-year students' sense of belonging as it relates to peers and institutional acceptance. We used data from the National Survey of Student Engagement (N = 9,371), and results revealed troublesome gaps for historically underrepresented populations in their sense of belonging among their peers and affiliation with the institution. Yet, when students participated in certain high-impact practices (learning communities, service learning, research with faculty, and campus leadership), positive associations were found, even after controlling for other institutional- and student-level characteristics. Implications for first-year programming are discussed.

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Journal of College Student Development, v. 58, no. 4, p. 545-563.