Question 29 - Reading Practice Test for the TOEFL Test

Which of the following sentences best expresses the essential information given in the following sentence from the attached passage?

“…universities have a vested interest in supporting students during their first-year transition.”

The expression dog is man's best friend might "have more weight"
in the case of first-year university students suffering from
homesickness, according to a new UBC study. The study shows 
that animal-assisted therapy can help students combat 
[5] homesickness and could be a useful tool in lowering post-
secondary drop-out rates.
 "Transitioning from high school to university can prove to be a 
challenge for many first-year students," says Assistant Professor 
John Tyler Binfet of UBC's Okanagan campus."Given that students 
[10] who experience homesickness are more likely than their
non-homesick cohorts to drop out of university, universities have
a vested interest in supporting students during their first-year
In the study, 44 first-year university students who self-identified as 
[15] homesick were given a survey to measure levels of 
homesickness, satisfaction with life and connectedness with campus. 
Half of the students completed eight weeks of dog therapy, while the 
other half were informed that their sessions would begin in eight 
weeks' time. Dog therapy included 45-minute weekly sessions 
[20] involving small group interactions with the dogs and handlers, 
and engagement with other first-year students participating in the 
study. Following the initial eight-week session, participants in both 
the treatment group and the non-treatment group completed the 
survey again. 
[25] Participants who completed the eight-week program experienced 
significant reductions in homesickness and greater increase in 
satisfaction with life. Participants reported that sessions "felt like 
they were at home chatting with friends who brought their puppies" 
while the non-treatment group reported an increase in their feelings 
[30] of homesickness.
According to a 2009 report conducted for B.C. Stats, students who
left post-secondary happy were almost twice as likely to have felt a 
sense of belonging compared to students who left unhappy.
Students who left university unhappy were almost twice as likely
[35] to say they did not feel a sense of belonging on campus.   
A total of 29 percent of students who dropped out cited more
interactions and friendships with other students as a factor that
would have influenced their decision to stay longer. While further 
study is needed, a university's ability to influence campus connections 
[40] could be a useful tool in lowering drop-out rates in first-year 
students, says Binfet.   
"Many first-year university students face the challenge of integrating
into their new campus community," says Binfet. "Homesick 
students are three times more likely than those who manage their
[45] homesickness to disengage and drop out of university."   
"Moving to a new city, I did not know anyone at the university and 
became very homesick and depressed," says UBC Okanagan 
student Varenka Kim. "I was mainly secluded in my dorm room and 
did not feel like I belonged here. Coming to animal-assisted therapy
[50] sessions every Friday gave me a sense of purpose and kept 
me enthusiastic about life."

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