The first-year seminar continues to be a common structure for supporting student success in higher education. Yet, it represents only one of many first-year programs.
With this in mind, the 2017 National Survey on The First-Year Experience marks a change from previous surveys administered by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition by exploring a broad range of initiatives designed support success in the first college year.
Recognizing that individual first-year programs are connected to extensive bodies of literature and practice, authors representing diverse professional networks focused on college student success contribute their voices to the analyses and presentation of results. The report includes an overview of institutional attention to the first year and the prevalence of and connections between first-year programs, a review of the results relating to selected first-year programs, and implications for practice and future research.
Senior capstone experiences, one of a number of high-impact educational practices promoted by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, provide students with an opportunity to integrate and apply what they have learned throughout their undergraduate years. Participating in capstone experiences have been linked to engagement in deep learning and gains in personal and social development, practical competence, and general education. The 2016 National Survey of Senior Capstone Experiences is an institution-level study designed to gather a national profile of campus efforts to promote student success in the senior year. This research report presents findings related to institutional priorities for the senior year, the types of capstone experiences offered, and the organization and administration of select capstone experiences.
Less is known about the second college year compared to other transition points, and fewer high-impact initiatives and curricular programs tend to be offered to sophomores. To increase our knowledge of this important, but sometimes neglected, year on the collegiate journey, The National Survey of Sophomore-Year Initiatives and the Sophomore Experiences Survey was undertaken. Researchers explored sophomore student characteristics, institutional efforts to support sophomores, and student perceptions of their learning and development. Divided into three sections, the report offers an overview of each survey instrument and an integrated discussion of findings and their implications for practice and ongoing research. The research report provides useful tools for institutions looking for benchmarks to create new sophomore-year programs or restructure existing initiatives.
For a quarter century, the National Resource Center has been examining the prevalence, structure, and administration of first-year seminars on American college campuses. The 2012-2013 administration of the National Survey of First-Year Seminars was expanded to explore the connection between the seminar and other high-impact practices in the first college year, including learning communities, service-learning, common reading programs, undergraduate research, and writing instruction. Findings are disaggregated by institutional characteristics and seminar type so that readers may easily identify the course features with the greatest relevance for their own context.