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, or enrolled in a highly selective 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 one 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? Improving the First Year of College employs a variety of perspectives from leading researchers and student-service providers to address these questions and examine the first year of college.
This volume also highlights the development of learning communities and coaching, as well as how technology impacts students' first year. Perhaps most important, the book provides examples of "best practices," as determined through research by leaders in the field, to permit educators to draw on their experiences.
"This book is a valuable addition to the available literature on the first year….the topics selected for inclusion are important for consideration not only by educators who work directly with first-year students, but also by those who determine educational policy at the institutional, state, and national levels."
—Journal of College Student Development
"Each chapter is competently written and appear's to fulfill the editor's charge to link research, theory, and application. Those in student services and those with direct responsibilities for freshman may find useful research here…"
"The volume offers a compelling combination of empirical research and theoretical underpinnings to examine and explain the issues [of the first-year experience], and explicitly considers the implications of findings for institutional practice. …this highly readable volume offers contemporary perspectives on the first-year experience. It would be a useful reference for anyone responsible for planning and/or assessing first-year programs and services."
—The Electronic Air
Contents: Preface. Part I: First-Year Student Decisions. J.E. King, Academic Success and Financial Decisions: Helping Students Make Crucial Choices. J. Cuseo, "Decided," "Undecided," and "In Transition": Implications for Academic Advisement, Career Counseling, and Student Retention. Part II: Diversity and the First Year of College. R.L. Pope, T.A. Miklitsch, M.J. Weigand, First-Year Students: Embracing Their Diversity, Enhancing Our Practice. B.(R.) Nagda, P. Gurin, S.M. Johnson, Living, Doing, and Thinking Diversity: How Does Pre-College Diversity of Experience Affect First-Year Students' Engagement With College Diversity? Part III: Assessing First-Year Outcomes. E.T. Pascarella, Cognitive Impacts of the First Year of College. J.H. Schuh, Assessing Programs and Other Student Experiences Designed to Enrich the First Year Experience. Part IV: Cutting-Edge Approaches to Engendering First-Year College Success. C.R. Poirier, R.S. Feldman, Going Online: Promoting Student Success Via Distance Learning. J.W. Petschauer, C. Wallace, Engaging the First-Year Student. J.L. Laufgraben, Building Learning Communities for First-Year Students.