We are excited to announce that registration for the 2014 Your First College Year (YFCY) survey is now open for registration and administration. As we have previously discussed, the 2014 YFCY will include a web-only administration. This temporary change was necessary in order for us to continue to provide this instrument to our participating campuses this year. One of the benefits of the web-only administration is the retention module aimed at providing schools with information to help their retention rates. Institutions can take advantage of this web-only component, which asks first-year students who no longer attend their institution a set of questions about why they decided to leave and their plans for the future.
The YFCY is an excellent tool to understand the kinds of experiences first-year students engage in, as these experiences can be important to understanding students’ development during their first year of college and can predict student persistence. We are developing a first-year retention calculator (much like our degree completion calculator that is now a standard part of our TFS reporting) that will connect YFCY survey items to students’ persistence into the second year and eventual degree completion. We plan to unveil this new tool at the 2014 Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research.
If you have been considering participating in CIRP’s YFCY survey, 2014 is the year to do it. We have dramatically cut our processing fees ($1 per survey in 2014, down from $3.25) and our HERI-managed email option ($150, down from $375). Additionally, we are pleased to offer campuses the opportunity to incorporate up to 30 closed-ended questions and five open-ended questions as an optional feature with the survey.
As always, we review the survey instrument and make some changes year to year in order to better capture information on today’s student populations. We have replaced a triple-barreled question in the retention model that asked about whether students left due to not feeling welcome because of their race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender; now, we ask about each of these attributes as separate items. This year we also have added new questions about students’ career path, asking respondents about the importance of beginning to think about their careers as freshmen and whether they have clearly identified a path toward achieving their career goals.
We also have brought the pluralistic orientation items (e.g., tolerance of others, openness to having my ideas challenged) in line with how we asked them on the CIRP Freshman Survey. We no longer ask students to rate these five abilities compared against the average person their age.
If you have questions about the survey revisions – whether about the web-only administration or about survey questionnaire content – please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-825-7079. YFCY will remain open for administration through June 13, 2014.