ST21 – Meaningful student counselling enhances study experience in Chemistry

ROOM C – MONDAY 15:30-16:30

Piia Valto

Department of Chemistry, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

-University teacher in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland
-Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry, Pedagogical studies in Adult education
-The main interests: student counselling, students’ welfare issues (personal student advisor Student Life operating model) and teaching in the organic and analytical chemistry laboratories


The paper presents the design and evaluation of student counselling model at the Department of Chemistry, University of Jyväskylä. The model focuses on the importance of students’ first study year incorporating meaningful group and 1:1 learning and guiding sessions and personal support via enthusiastic, qualified student advisors.


The first year of university studies in chemistry are challenging for many students and their experiences during that year have a strong impact on their subsequent studying. The interaction between students, the Department and teaching personnel is also important. The Department of Chemistry at the University of Jyväskylä has made several developments on study counselling and student engagement in the curriculum. Especially at the Bachelor level we highlight study counselling combined with student welfare issues and personalized study plans.

Here, we will focus on description and evaluation of our holistic working model for student counselling throughout their first year of study. The main objectives of our study counselling

model are:

– increases students engagement to chemistry studies and the University

– offers personal support and continuous guidance

– confirms students’ own responsibility regarding their studies and study success

– help to strengthen students’ self-image and to develop the professional identity

– strengthens students’ self-efficiency and study motivation

Our model emphasizes continuous, student-focused (personal student advisor) and collaborative group counselling work (tutoring groups) which is managed by enthusiastic and qualified teaching personnel. In our student counselling model, we also highlight the importance of awareness of student welfare issues. We have developed a course entitled “KEMY001 Personal Study Plan,” (1 ECTS credits) which continues throughout the first three years of the chemistry studies. Moreover, this gives a working tool for the personnel to supervise the progress of the students throughout the whole Bachelor studies.

The main objective of this presentation is to describe the design and evaluation of our student counselling model. Also, we have evaluated the impact of the study counselling model on students’ drop-out rate after first year studies and study success by looking statistic of the chemistry students between years 2009-2014 (N=398, number of students). The drop-out rate after first study year has decreased from 51 % to 28 % during our enhanced study counselling work. Also, the students’ study success measured by performing 55 ECTS credits per year has increased over 30 % during that time. Therefore, it can be concluded that based on our assessment of the model and students’ feedback, enhanced study counselling increases the number of students continuing their studies after first year and also improves their studying success.

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