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orientation & transition experiences

First-Year Assessment

The first-year assessment plan is meant to be iterative - each step informing the next. Throughout the process data is analyzed, shared with stakeholders while making changes to content and or programs. Outcomes are often re-evaluated.

Elements of this plan have been adapted to assess the transfer student experience.

Assessment Cycle

  1. "Tell Us About Yourself" Pre-Orientation Survey - Offered by each college prior to orientation. Collects common data as well as specific individual data for advisers.
  2. Student participation – Utilizing the Orientation Database to capture and track student attendance behavior.
  3. Orientation Program Evaluation – includes common questions/themes for Orientation evaluation process and obtains immediate feedback regarding Orientation experience.
  4. Welcome Week Program Evaluation– includes common questions/themes for Welcome Week evaluation process and obtains feedback for next year’s Welcome Week experience.
  5. Check-In Survey – Survey sent to all new freshman and transfer students in January. Survey includes common questions and themes of involvement and seeking help.
  6. Leaver’s Study – Work with college advisers to identify reasons students have not re-enrolled for spring semester
  7. National Surveys - For example, Student Experience in the Research University (SERU)survey.
  8. Identity/Re-evaluate outcomes

First-Year (NHS) Assessment:

A first-year (NHS) assessment plan was developed in 2007 and continues to be implemented while collecting data from students at various points throughout their first year. The intent of this process provides data on student behavior related to the matriculation process, student satisfaction, student success both personally and academically, longitudinal data, and to measure the impact on student retention and other programs. The plan helps to inform the institution on the things we were learning about from our students and their experiences.

Results Summary:

  • There is a positive relationship between students whose parents attend orientation and their success at the University – they do not leave their first year.
  • Since fall of 2008, there has been an increase in the number of students who have sought out a professional counselor, career counselor and faculty member for advice.
  • Students’ top five primary anxieties or concerns are academic coursework, making friends/meeting other people, financial concerns, deciding on a major/career path, and developing skills related to note-taking, studying, time management, stress management.
  • Students are making greater connections with their Community Advisors, College advisors and staff, as well as faculty.
  • Students have a greater sense of connection to the community, to others who have similar interests and to the community through service.
  • There has been an increase in the number of students’ surveyed meeting with a University employee for advice or counseling. These include professional counselor, career counselor, faculty member, teaching assistant and Community Advisor.
  • About 37% of the students who leave the University between fall and spring semesters of their first year are from out of state.
  • Students who leave the University between fall and spring semesters of their first year leave for a variety of reasons including: financial issues, health issues, family issues, homesickness, campus is too big, difficulty making friends/connections, and other personal issues. A significant number of these students have a 3.1 GPA or higher.
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