The First-Year Experience

A strong academic foundation is critical to college readiness and success. But it the long run, it takes more than academics to reach the finish line.

Research from the Association of American Colleges and Universities has shown that students who participate in first-year experience programs have more positive relationships with faculty, are more knowledgeable about and make better use of campus resources, and exhibit better time-management skills than peers who do not participate in these types of programs.*

The first-year experience is an opportunity to prepare new college students with the skills and knowledge they need beyond academics to persist to completion and meet their individual goals.

Pearson is partnering with institutions to set students up for success through a quality first-year experience that includes a number of other high-impact practices like orientation, a student success course, and more.


Orientation can take on many forms from a single campus tour highlighting key resources and services to a component in a semester-long student success course. No matter how it’s executed, orientation has been proven to contribute to student success.

In fact, research prepared for the League for Innovation in Community College shows that orientation services contribute to increased student satisfaction, use of student support services, and retention.*

Reimagining the First-Year Experience

Learn how Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, is reimagining students’ first-year experience as part of their strategy for accelerating college readiness in this podcast.

Listen to the podcast


Class registration may not be something that typically comes up in conversations about student success. But research suggests that when students register can have a direct impact on their success and that students registered after classes begin may be at a disadvantage from the start.

According to research featured in the College Student Journal and the Journal of College Student Retention Research Theory and Practice, late registration correlates with lower grades, lower completion rates, and lower re-enrollment the following term.*

Class Attendance

There’s no doubt that attending class is a necessary requirement for student success. However, research suggests that students’ class attendance is the single best predictor of academic performance in college—a more reliable predictor than high school GPA, SAT scores, standardized admissions tests, study habits, and study skills.*

Learning Communities

Learning communities are formed when students are grouped into cohorts and enrolled together in two or more linked classes. Learning alongside the same students as part of a cohort can help students develop a sense of academic and social community which can increase engagement between the students within the cohort and between the students and the faculty.

Research suggests that this can lead to improved academic achievement, increased satisfaction with the college, and greater use of student support services. Cumulatively, these behaviors can positively impact retention and learning outcomes.*