The Effect of a Structured Group Experience on the Transition from the Role of College Student to the Role of Working Professional

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This study was conducted to investigate the effects of a structured group experience on the transition of new college graduates from the role of student to worker. Fifty-seven subjects,who were employed in their first professional job upon graduating from college,were formed into an experimental group of twenty-nine and control group of twenty-eight subjects . A needs assessment identified ten behaviors which supervisors considered to be indications that a new employee was functioning as a worker rather than a learner. A twenty-two item questionnaire was developed which allowed supervisors to evaluate the degree to which their subordinates were performing the ten target behaviors . A second instrument containing seven items was developed which allowed subjects to report the degree to which they felt they were performing these behaviors . Data were collected from supervisors and subjects using these instruments both before and after treatment. Treatment consisted of a workshop having two components: 1) the presentation of the ten behaviors which supervisors had identified as being desirable, and 2) a structured approach to skill mastery which utilized fantasy, planning and problem solving. Post-treatment evaluations of subjects by supervisors were significantly higher than the corresponding pre-treatment evaluations, t (28) = 3.11, p < .01, providing support for the hypothesis that a structured group experience has a beneficial effect on the transition from the role of college student to the role of working professional.