Improving the First Year of College: Research and Practice

Improving the First Year of College: Research and Practice

Improving the First Year of College: Research and Practice

Improving the First Year of College: Research and Practice


The "First-Year Experience" course combines study skills with "life" skills and is intended to ease first-year college students into college life. It has become a required course at most community colleges and proprietary schools, and is making headway in getting established at the less selective state universities.


The first year of college represents an enormous milestone in students' lives. Whether attending a four-year or two-year institution of higher education, living on campus or at home, enrolled in a highly selective Ivy League school or a college with an open-admissions policy, students are challenged in unique and demanding ways during their first year.

Although many students rise to the challenges they face, for some the demands are too great. Retention rates beyond the first year are disappointing: One third of first-year students seriously consider leaving college during their first term, and ultimately only half of all students who start college complete it.

What are the factors that impact students during their first year? How can the academic and social experiences of first-year students be optimized? What can we do to improve retention rates to maximize the number of students who complete college? This book addresses these, and many other questions, as it examines the first year of college from a variety of perspectives. Drawing on a broad array of experts, it systematically considers the factors that produce success during the critical first year of college.

The main goal of this volume is to present, in an integrated framework, the newest, most contemporary perspectives on the first year of college. The book includes empirically grounded work and educational theories that are central to our understanding of the cognitive and social processes that underlie the first-year experience and its consequences.

The volume has several secondary aims, as well. One is to highlight the newest subareas in the domain of the first-year college experience that . . .

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