First-year seminars and student persistence in selected 4-year institutions: a study from the 2006 national survey on first-year seminars
Matriculating to college is a critical time in the life of transitioning students. Students in their first year of college face change the transition to being independent and meeting people from diverse backgrounds. Colleges and universities recognize the first year of college as one of the most impressionable aspects of student life. Colleges and universities have created experiences designed around the concept of assisting in the integration of students in their first year of college. First-year experience (FYE) courses or first-year seminars (FYSs) were designed to provide students with tools and skills they needed as first-year students in college, as well to help students persist from one year to the next. This study sought to determine which aspects of a FYS demonstrate the best approach to assisting students with successful integration to college, which can affect increased persistence to the sophomore year or increase persistence to graduation using secondary data from the 2006 National Survey on First-Year Seminars (NSFYS). Descriptive statistics and binary logistic regressions were employed to analyze the data and to answer the research questions. The sample used for this study included respondents who participated in the 2006 NSFYS and agreed to release their responses anonymously for research purposes. Results indicated course topics are a significant predictor of persistence to the sophomore year for moderate-selective institutions. When examining the persistence to graduation model, course topics, course objectives, and other course characteristics are significant for low-selectivity institutions.