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National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition


See the current and past recipients of the Institutional Excellence for Students in Transition Award.

2018 Award Recipients

Valencia College

DirectConnect to UCF is a regional partnership in central Florida to ensure local community college completion of a bachelor’s degree through a shared system involving 6 community/state colleges and the University of Central Florida. It guarantees admission to students who complete the associate’s degree, and includes streamlined admissions processes, advising, and curriculum alignment to ensure bachelor’s completion. Since 2006, 62,000 Direct Connect transfer students have enrolled and 46,137 bachelor’s degrees have been awarded; a 74.4% graduation rate. 

University of Central Florida

In 2014, the University of Central Florida launched “Foundations of Excellence (FoE),” a multi-year, multi-phase process with the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. The goal of this transfer initiative was to raise awareness of transfer student issues, shape the university culture to better accommodate our transfer students, and focus on transfer students’ transition points. To date, FoE, now reestablished as Transfer Alliance, has redesigned transfer orientation and the first year transition process, created a campus-wide Transfer Philosophy Statement, increased faculty and staff engagement in transfer success initiatives, and developed new concepts around the transfer credit evaluation process.

Kent State University

Summer Advantage is a program is designed to assist students who are first in their families to go to college and/or from underrepresented and limited income backgrounds to graduate in four years. The program prioritizes first year students transitioning into their second year and juniors transitioning into their senior year focusing on degree completion. Summer Advantage assists Kent State students to envision a path for the future by building a support network of peers and professionals.


2017 Award Recipients

San Jose State University

The SJSU Braven Accelerator experience targets sophomores or first-semester transfer students, with a particular focus on those who are first in their family to attend college, are Pell-grant eligible, or who identify as an underrepresented minority (URM - Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino and Native American).

Ohio State University

A partnership between the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Student Life, the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) was created as an extension of Ohio State's commitment to the student experience and provides an opportunity for education beyond the classroom. STEP is focused on assisting students in finding ways to have transformational experiences during their second-year in college.


2016 Award Recipients

Clark University

The LEEP Center Advising Model targets seniors’ transition from college to the world of work, as they have had difficulty connecting their academics to their first professional placement. Through surveys and focus groups, we found that students’ lack of knowledge about industries, employers, and career trajectories; understanding of and ability to network; and ability to identify and prepare for relevant paraprofessional experience to be significant obstacles seniors experience in their transition to post-graduate life. The LEEP Center Advising Model helps students discover a path, explore ways to gain experience that make sense for said path, and plan and prepare for the life after Clark.

Goodwin College

Goodwin College’s Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), Men of Vision in Education (MOVE) and Women Invested in Securing an Education (WISE) provide specialized supports to at risk and underserved populations from the Greater Hartford area. EOP identifies and recruits recent high school graduates who have barriers to accessing a post-secondary education. Through a combination of remediation, summer bridge programming and financial supports, EOP seeks to successfully transition these students from high school into a collegiate setting.


2015 Award Recipients

Kent State University

In 2012, Kent State University’s University College implemented the Exploration Plan designed to enrich the freshman experience for undecided students and to expedite a shift into a degree-granting program within the first three semesters. The Exploration Plan has six components. Students become engaged in the Plan at the point of admission as Exploratory, when they are required to select one of thirteen university-wide concentration areas to explore first. Linked courses based on that concentration, in addition to a career exploration focus in the First Year Experience Course, the use of the Career Maturity Inventory and a newly-developed career navigation course series are all components of the Plan. Multiple required advising sessions add to the intrusive, high touch nature of the Plan.


2014 Award Recipients

Arizona State University

The Guided Pathways to Success (GPS) program targets Arizona community college students who aspire to transfer to and complete a bachelor's degree at Arizona State University (ASU). ASU has signed agreements with every public community college in the State of Arizona to "create a culture of transfer." Over the course of five years we have implemented significant process improvements, developed innovative tools, and improved communication to students, parents, advisors, faculty and others who support students who wish to transfer.

Governors State University

The Dual Degree Program supports the college completion agenda through partnerships between Governors State University and seventeen Chicagoland community colleges. In collaboration with community college partners GSU provides full-time community college students with an excellent pathway to earn quality and affordable bachelor's degrees. The DDP philosophy support completion through the provision of proactive advising, peer mentors, policies that promote completion and financial incentives to encourage success and completion.

University of North Carolina Wilmington

The University College (UC) Students in Transition (SiT) Program provides academic advising, courses, and programs that support students at various points of transition into majors - incoming transfer students who have not yet met certain prerequisites and current students changing majors - and transfer and military students as they transition into UNCW. The SiT Program provides structured, proactive, and dedicated support to transfer students during their transition to UNCW and students into their majors.