Our latest research studies on second-year college students have me thinking about how important it is for those of us involved with student success and retention to be working on programs that focus beyond the first year of college. Don’t misunderstand me: I appreciate how important the first year is, and I am glad we have so many resources to help us build first-year programs. It’s just that our ultimate goal should really be completion. Job one should be doing everything we can to help the students who enroll at our institutions to complete whatever their educational goal may be.
The good news is there’s a growing body of research and resources for us to help students beyond the first year. At Noel-Levitz we’ve just released the results of a national pilot study, The Attitudes of Second-Year College Students. I won’t repeat what’s in the report here, but I do want to mention a couple of things that really struck me.
What I noticed in the data
First some really good news: Across institutional types (two-year and four-year, public and private), second-year students in fall 2010 reported high levels of academic and social motivation. Consistent with these findings, most second-year students were satisfied with their overall experience (5.71 on a 7-point scale).