Proactive Student Psychosocial Support Intervention Through Life Coaching: A Case Study of a First-Year Chemical Engineering Extended Curriculum Programme


  • Disaapele Mogashana Lecturer, Life Coach and NLP Practitioner, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cape Town
  • Moses Basitere Senior Lecturer, Academic Support Programme for Engineering in Cape Town (ASPECT), University of Cape Town



Life coaching, first-year experience, student agency, student success, psychosocial support, engineering education


Higher Education Institutions in South Africa continue to experience considerable dropout rates of students during the first year, especially those from previously marginalised population groups. The aim of this research was to evaluate how the use of life  coaching interventions providing first year students with psychosocial support, influenced their first-year experience. Both quantitative and qualitative data was collected through a questionnaire at the end of the academic year, approximately four months after the intervention, to evaluate students’ experiences of the intervention. Results indicate that students felt that the intervention helped them avoid dropping out of university prematurely, respond better to failure during the year, and improve their self-awareness and academic performance. In conclusion, the results suggest that the use of life coaching intervention as a proactive means of harnessing student agency, may be beneficial to their academic performance, and in improving their lives in general. The study recommends that further research be conducted to explore the use of small group life coaching for providing students with psychosocial support, and also explore this intervention’s cost-effectiveness in different contexts.