Changing students’ experience during their first year of college is vital in improving undergraduate education in the United States, particularly for underserved populations.
Through the three-year Re-Imagining the First Year of College project, or RFY, 44 AASCU institutions are working together to improve the quality of learning and student experience in the first year, increase retention rates, and improve student success.
This fall they are starting to implement practices aimed at improving the first-year experience for all students but particularly for students who are low-income, first-generation, or students of color, often the most vulnerable students.
Faculty and staff (creating faculty and staff incentives for working with first-year students, and creating opportunities for collaboration between academic and student affairs).
To ensure that they are most effectively addressing the barriers to college success during students’ first year, RFY participants are taking the important step of developing metrics to help identify and reduce gaps in outcomes for students.
The universities will start by working toward specific goals as measured by the following data that AASCU has determined to be key indicators for first-year student success: Credit accumulation, Credit completion, Gateway course completion, Major or program selection and Persistence.
Students who do not complete the courses risk lengthening their time to graduation and increasing their college costs, and they also drain institutional resources.