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Why University 1?

Master the Art of University Learning

Students' experiences during their first year at a university lay the foundation for their entire undergraduate career. This foundation encompasses and addresses the hopes, dreams, fears, and expectations that can lead to successful lives as students and citizens. Freshman, transfer, and reentry students should take University 1 during the first semester they enroll. Students taking the course earn 3 units of elective credit while acquiring the techniques necessary for a meaningful and successful college experience.

Student Persistence in Higher Education

National statistics indicate that about 40% of entering college students will leave the higher education system without earning any type of college degree. Attrition rates are alarmingly high for certain minority groups, with some studies showing only one of seven African-American students, one of ten Hispanic students reaching senior status in four years. Almost half of all students who leave college will drop out during their freshman year, often during the first few months of their first semester.

Freshmen Orientation Programs Promote Student Retention

A well-established body of research supports that freshman orientation programs promote student retention, especially when offered as a full-semester academic course for beginning freshmen. The University of South Carolina has collected data for over two decades that has found that not only do participants in a freshman seminar course show higher sophomore retention rates, but they also are more likely to persist to graduation.The National Resource Center for the Freshman Year Experience and Students in Transition (University of South Carolina) reports that 72% of institutions of higher learning in the United States offer some type of first-year orientation course.

Student Concerns in the First Year

Students who withdraw in the first semester often give reasons that fall into one of three categories:

  • Feelings of being unprepared academically
  • Feelings of being unprepared emotionally (homesickness, lack of friends)
  • Financial and/or family responsibilities

The stress first-year students face is related to a disruption of routines, role expectations and priorities in their lives that were well ingrained prior to the college experience. Students identified making new friends, getting good grades, planning for the future, managing time and learning to be on one’s own as the highest priority concerns during their first year of college. College success is clearly a multi-dimensional phenomenon and must include successful outcomes in many areas.

Advice to New Undergraduates