Hana A. El-Ghali, PhD, Education and Youth Policy Research Program, Program Director, IFI, AUB
Enja Osman, PhD, Lecturer and Outreach and Practice Teaching Coordinator, Department of Education, AUB
Fida Alameddine, MA Project Coordinator, Education and Youth Policy Research Program, IFI, AUB
The transitioning phase from school to university proves to be critical for youths who face many challenges in adjusting to college life (Gibney et al., 2011). This transitioning becomes more evident in youths from disadvantaged and marginalized and refugees background who experience additional difficulties, such as lacking a support system and having to work. Due to the gravity of this phase in the youths’ lives, diverse intervention activities have been designed by different educational entities to ease the transition from school to university. Transition, pipeline, and bridge programs are examples of such activities, which have proved to be successful in Western contexts. However, little is known whether similar programs are conducted in Lebanon or the region. Thus, this research study aimed to explore the effectiveness and impact of a newly designed intervention program, the Pre-College Mentoring program (PCM). One hundred secondary students from public schools, several school staff, and faculty members from the American University of Beirut participated in this study. Data collection tools such as pre and post-tests, surveys, posters, and video recordings were employed. The study’s findings revealed that students, who participated in the PCM program, acquired content knowledge and non-cognitive skills that can ease their transition into university. Despite major positive findings, many participating students claimed that they still need more guidance to choose their college and careers, and have better access to organizations, which provide scholarship opportunities. Results also revealed areas that need to be thoughtfully considered for improving or designing similar and more effective transition programs. Lastly, action recommendations are suggested that could be applied by various entities, such as policy stakeholders at the Ministry of Education, school principals, and other educational organizations, to provide a smooth transition to postsecondary education.