HERI has been offering the Your First College Year (YFCY) survey since 2000. YFCY is the first national survey designed specifically to assess the academic and personal development of students over the first year of college.
Developed through a collaboration between HERI and the Policy Center on the First Year of College at Brevard College, YFCY enables institutions to identify features of the first year that encourage student learning, involvement, satisfaction, retention and success, thereby enhancing first-year programs and retention strategies at campuses across the country.
Your First College Year is a survey designed to provide higher education practitioners and researchers with comprehensive information on the academic and personal development of first-year college students. As such, YFCY collects information on a wide range of cognitive and affective measures, providing comprehensive institutional and comparative data for analyses of persistence, adjustment, and other first-year outcomes. Further, YFCY was designed as a follow-up survey to the annual CIRP Freshman Survey and allows for longitudinal research on the first year of college. However, YFCY also may be used as a stand-alone instrument.
The 2020 YFCY survey registration is now closed! Administration was from March 1 – June 15, 2020.
Specifically colleges use the YFCY to
Evaluate student adjustment to college
YFCY includes several measures of adjustment during the first year of college, such as students’ level of satisfaction with various aspects of campus life, institutional facilities, and student services; personal challenges that they face during their transition from high school to college; and feelings of personal success at the end of the first year.
Assess students’ academic experiences and achievement
The survey collects information on a number of academic experiences of first-year students, including classroom activities, academic engagement and disengagement, and interaction with faculty. Further, YFCY asks students to rate their overall academic capabilities as well as skills in specific intellectual areas and to report their first-year GPA.
Collect information about extracurricular experiences
YFCY collects information on all aspects of student life including social commitments, study habits, volunteer and service work, student employment, residential life experiences, involvement in campus organizations, religious practices, and family obligations. Survey items provide information on both the quantity and quality of these experiences.
Study specific first-year programs
Several questions on YFCY assess students’ experiences with various campus programs such as orientation, honors courses, first-year seminars, remedial coursework, service learning opportunities, academic advising, and learning communities as well as interaction with campus advisors, counselors, and other support personnel.
Examine student change
As a follow-up instrument, YFCY is designed to help institutions assess how their students have changed since entering college. When combined with CIRP Freshman Survey data, the YFCY serves as a longitudinal measure of students’ cognitive and affective growth during the first year.
Schools participating in the YFCY receive an institutional profile, which includes your institutional results broken out by sex, full and part-time status, comparisons with other similar institutions, significance testing, effect sizes, CIRP Constructs and Theme reports, and a data file of your student responses. Schools using the YFCY as a post-test to the CIRP Freshman Survey will also receive a Longitudinal Profile, which can be used to assess growth and change over the first year of college.
Administering the YFCY Survey
The 2020 YFCY survey registration is now open! Administer the survey any time between March 1 – June 15, 2020.
The YFCY is conducted from March-June to facilitate surveying freshmen at the end of their first college year. As of 2019, the YFCY is available as an online survey only.
The online survey can be administered either with your campus managing the email notification process, or for ease of use, you can elect to have HERI manage the email notifications to students. Our web portal allows you to schedule email notification and reminder dates, customize, “welcome” and “thank you” pages, customize email notifications, and upload your additional questions. Throughout the administration, you can monitor your response rates in real time. Your survey data updates in real time, so you can download your preliminary data file at any point to analyze early responses.
The Survey Instrument
Important Forms and Documentation
- Administration Guidelines – Necessary information for schools concerning the administration of the Your First College Year Survey
- Administration Timeline – Use the timeline to track the general tasks required during a survey cycle
- Survey Information Sheet – Copy of the informed consent given to survey respondents
- Student Identifiers – Find out how student identifiers can help you merge data for longitudinal analyses
- Additional Questions – Important information for campuses adding their own questions to the instrument
- School Managed Distribution (Bulk Codes) – Instructions for sending your email invitations directly from your institution
- Invitation and Reminder Templates – Sample text for inviting your students to participate
- Welcome and Thank you text – Editable text for your welcome and thank you survey pages
- Mailing List – Sample file for uploading student names/email addresses
- Anti-Spam Guidelines – How to prevent survey invitations and reminders from CIRP being filtered out as bulk or junk mail
- Group Codes – Comparing specific subgroups of your student sample
- Confidentiality and Privacy – Protocol for ensuring the confidentiality and privacy of our data and suggestions about how to assure your students that their information is safe
- Encouraging Participation – Suggestions for increasing response rates
- Promo Pack – Instructions on how to use Promo Packs
- Pre-notification Email Templates – Editable text for your pre-notification emails
- Data and Reporting – Descriptions of the institutional data and reporting institutions will receive from CIRP
- UCLA IRB Approval Notice – Copy of the current UCLA IRB approval for the YFCY Survey
The combined survey administration and registration fee is calculated based on total full-time equivalent (FTE) undergraduate enrollment (for student surveys) or full-time faculty (faculty/staff survey) with information obtained from the IPEDS database on September 1, 2017. You can find the survey fees for your institution by searching on our pricing page.
-Customized Welcome and Thank You Pages: no additional fee
-Additional questions for web administration – 20 closed-ended and/or 5 open-ended: $350
-Group Codes: no additional fee
-HERI-managed email distribution to students: $375
-School-managed email distribution: no additional fee
HERI uses a two-step process for billing. First, within two weeks of receiving an order to administer one of our surveys from an authorized campus representative, we will send an invoice to that representative or the designated billing contact requesting payment for a $1,000 registration deposit. This registration deposit will be credited toward the total administration cost. Should needs on campus change, please read below to review our cancellation policy.
Second, approximately six weeks before the national administration closes for the Your First College Year Survey, we will send a second invoice for the remaining balance associated with the survey administration, including any optional services requested during the administration period (i.e., HERI-managed emails, additional questions on web-based surveys).
The costs for administering HERI’s surveys cover customer service support from HERI’s staff throughout the administration process, the full suite of campus reports (i.e., Institutional Profile Report, Construct Report, Theme Report, Executive Summary PowerPoint), preparation of the final dataset, and targeted consultation to help clarify or explain the results featured in each set of reports.
We will continue to invoice separately for any orders for data services or customized reports placed by authorized campus representatives, and we typically send those invoices within two weeks of fulfilling each order. Additionally, for campuses that have more specific needs related to developing more tailored surveys, generating a more comprehensive, in-depth analysis of their survey data, or creating a more comprehensive assessment of campus climate, HERI staff members are available for more extensive consulting partnerships. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
*Expedited payment is helpful because UCLA charges additional fees after invoices become 90 days
past due. If there are delinquency fees on your account, your payment will be applied to these charges first. The unpaid balance on the account will remain past due and will continue to accrue additional delinquency fees. Balances which remain unpaid for several months risk going to collections.
Placing an order indicates your institution’s agreement to participate in the survey. HERI will refund $800 of the $1,000 deposit if a campus informs HERI in writing of its decision to cancel the administration of the YFCY survey by the cancellation cutoff date. HERI will refund $200 of the $1,000 deposit for orders cancelled after the respective cutoff date. If your institution has received paper surveys, survey links, or distributed links via HERI’s email system prior to attempting to cancel the order, please refer to the Withdrawal Policy.
For Web Administrations
If the URL(s) have already been sent to the institution or distributed via HERI’s email distribution service to the sample of intended survey participants, the campus will forfeit the full $1,000 registration deposit. In addition, if HERI has provided any customized services at your request (e.g., incorporated on-line additional questions, etc.), you will also be responsible for the full cost of these services.
The 2020 YFCY survey registration is now closed! Administration was from March 1 – June 15, 2020.