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First, Year, Experience, transition, course, access, major, expectaions, perception, transfers, natives


Executive Summary: This report was prepared as background to ongoing discussions concerning the first year experience, in particular the study group by that name headed by Dean Marie Eaton. Data come from surveys of a cohort of new freshmen and new transfers, who entered Western in Fall, 1994. They were surveyed that Fall and in the Spring of that same academic year. Only about one-third of new students, many of whom failed to attend Summer advising sessions, find the transition to Western "very" or "moderately" difficult. The great majority expected Western to be more difficult than their previous schools. Most found that to be true, but about one in five found it less true than they expected. Just over half of freshmen felt a need for advice about OURs during Fall quarter, with about 40% wanting advisement concerning entry into a major. By Spring, all these had declined--OUR advising needs, precipitously--but need for career or life planning had risen from 21.8% to 31.5%. With the exception of OUR advising, where three-fourths of need was met, one-third or less of the desire for advising eventuated in advising. For transfers, well over half felt need for advisement concerning entry into a major. By Spring, need had declined significantly. For transfers, just over half of all felt need for advisement led to advising. Students' sources of advice are largely informal, with other students and friends leading all sources, followed by orientation and university publications. Advising services and faculty are seldom listed as the main source of advice. The report provides a series of findings relevant to course access during the first year. For freshmen, course access is very good Fall quarter among those who attend Summerstart. By Winter, access becomes less good, although 85.5% of all courses taken by freshmen were ones the students wanted. Among transfers, the pattern is reversed. During Fall, 1994, nearly 20% of courses were "all [students] could get at the time." By Winter, the corresponding figure was below 8%. In addition, access pressures are illustrated by the remarkably high use of add codes to gain entry to courses. While modes during students' first quarter here, by Spring of their first year, fully 31.4% of freshmen and 39.9% of transfers say they got into at least one class using add codes.




Digital object produced by Office of Survey Research, Western Washington University, and made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

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Technical and research reports (Western Washington University. Office of Institutional Assessment and Testing) ; 1998-03






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