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 2018 YFCY Registration is now open and Administration begins March 1, 2018.
Participating Institutions – Download your Reports:
Institutions who participated in the 2017 YFCY can access their 2017 data and reports here.
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
Registration is now open. 2018 YFCY survey can be administered anytime between March 1, 2018 – June 15, 2018.
The YFCY is conducted from March-June to facilitate surveying freshmen at the end of their first college year. The YFCY is available as a paper or as an online survey.
The Paper Survey
The paper survey can be administered in the classroom, a group setting or as a mail-out survey. The most successful administration of the YFCY is in large group settings such as class meetings or first-year advising sessions. You set the delivery date and the number of questionnaires needed.
The Web Survey
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
- 2018 YFCY Survey (Paper Version)
- 2018 YFCY Survey (Web Version)
- 2018 YFCY Survey Changes
- Using the YFCY for Retention
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
- Shipping Form – Instructions for shipping your completed paper surveys to our processing center
- UCLA IRB Approval Notice – Copy of the current UCLA IRB approval for the YFCY Survey
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310-825-1925 for survey pricing information for your institution.
The 2018 YFCY Registration is now open and Administration begins March 2018.
Administer anytime between March 1, 2018 through June 15, 2018