K-State First celebrates its 10-year anniversary of helping students transition to college
Ten years ago, Kansas State University created a program to address student retention among first-year to second-year students: K-State First. Since its inaugural year, the program has grown exponentially. Two integral pieces of the program are the First-Year Seminar (FYS) courses and Connecting Across Topics (CAT) learning communities— both initiatives designed to help first-year students establish a solid foundation for the rest of their college careers. With the formation of K-State First, K-State now has the highest first-to-second-year retention rate among Kansas Board of Regents institutions.
K-State First is also home to the university’s common reading program, the K-State Book Network, and a one-on-one mentoring program, Guide to Personal Success, which connects students with faculty, staff and alumni to grow their network and get to know the K-State family on a personal level.
K-State First by the numbers
- 4 ways K-State First helps students transition to college:
- fosters campus community and feelings of belonging
- offers opportunities for diverse activities and interactions
- raises academic expectations with engagement and compassion
- empowers students with a strong sense of personal responsibility and social agency
- 86% freshman-to-sophomore Universitywide retention rate, up from 78% a decade ago
- 87% retention rate for freshman-to-sophomore students enrolled in a First-Year Seminar or CAT Community, compared to 84% for students who didn’t participate in either
- 86% retention rate for first-generation freshman-to-sophomore students enrolled in a CAT Community, compared to 79% for first-generation students who didn’t participate
- 63% six-year graduation rate for first-generation students enrolled in a First-Year Seminar, compared to 51% for first-generation students who didn’t participate in FYS or a CAT Community
- 46% four-year graduation rate for first-generation students enrolled in a First-Year Seminar, compared to 27% for students who didn’t participate in a FYS or a CAT Community
- 42 CAT Communities and 58 First-Year Seminars offered in fall 2019, serving approximately 1,844 students from all seven of the undergraduate colleges on the Manhattan campus
- 46 CAT Communities and 60 First-Year Seminars planned in fall 2020, with the capacity to serve approximately 2,300 students