I’ve talked with a number of colleagues on college campuses this week and they are all focused now on helping their first-year students transition to the second semester. On many campuses, a primary vehicle for this support in the fall term is the first-year seminar—most of which concluded at the end of the first semester. But what structures and support for student success are available once those first-semester courses and programs end?
Data collected from institutions that administer first-year student assessments from Ruffalo Noel Levitz (College Student Inventory, a pre-test, and the Mid-Year Student Assessment, a post-test) show the top five areas in which students had requests for assistance as they entered their institutions and the extent to which assistance was provided during term one:
These data from a recent report, Changes in Freshman Attitudes Following a Semester of Classes and Interventions, reveal that students’ motivational needs persist over time and are multi-faceted. The most substantial gaps between requests and assistance provided were in three areas that spanned all three sectors: financial guidance, career services, and academic support.
These data from the first-year experience indicate the need for structured, targeted support services extended through the second semester. If your freshman seminar has ended, how will you provide this structure of support? And what data will you have available to identify at-risk students and design the most relevant programs and services to address your students’ changing needs in the second term?
My colleague, Tim Culver, wrote about this in a previous blog that I encourage you to read or re-read. The blog emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the P+P=R formula…progression + persistence = retention.
Student attrition continues beyond the first term
Above, data from the 2015 Student Retention Indicators Benchmark Report show that attrition continues beyond the first semester. This means colleges and universities must develop strategies that support student success beyond the first term, encompassing the entire first-year experience.
How to respond?