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10 Things We Learned about First-Years through Assessment in 2018-19

A synthesis of findings about first-year Ospreys across assessment projects in 2018-19.

10 Things We Learned about First Years through Assessment in 2018-19 - text below

Meet Ozzie

10 Things We Learned about First Years through Assessment in 2018-19


32% of first years identify as first generation students, meaning their parents did not graduate from college.2



Before they begin college, 20% of incoming Ospreys expect to read and study less than they did in high school. 35% report low engagement with analysis/numerical information in high school. But 100% are certain they will persist in the face of academic adversity.2



59% work off campus.4 Ospreys spend more time working, commuting, and volunteering than peers at comparable institutions.7 Working more than 20 hours/week off campus is linked to lower GPA but higher retention.4



The more “buoyant” students are in the face of everyday academic challenges, the higher their GPA and retention.1 56% struggle with time management, and 31% find it difficult to get help with schoolwork.3



Visiting the Library once in the first fall increases the odds of persisting to spring by 2.7 times. 20 visits in the first fall is a “magic number” linked with a 3.0+ GPA.11



First years who feel they belong are more likely to retain.6 Attending “signature” or traditions-based campus life events is linked with GPA and retention.5




Being in a Living Learning Community (LLC) is linked with higher GPA, persistence, and retention.8



Involvement in undergraduate research is linked with higher GPA, perceived gains in learning, satisfaction, “buoyancy”, and graduate school aspirations.9



Quality interactions with faculty, advisors, other students, and staff are linked with GPA and retention.6 However, males, Greek students, commuters, and transfers tend to be less satisfied.3



Before they begin at UNF, 13% are uncertain they will stay.2 By the end of the first year, 30% have seriously considered leaving UNF (same as national average).3


  1. Academic Buoyancy: First Year Advising & Student Success NSSE-based study conducted in June 2018 on 43% of first years, n=879. 
  2. Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE) Piloted in summer 2018 with 305 first years. Launched with full first year class in spring 2019. Students take this survey between high school graduation and starting college, before they begin coursework at UNF.
  3. First Year Advising, Student Success & Chicken or Egg? NSSE-based study conducted in June 2018 on 43% of first years, n=879.
  4. First Year Osprey Roadmap & the Odds of Being Retained* Conducted in November 2018 on 1,997 first years.
  5. Get Involved! Extracurricular Involvment and Academic Success @ UNF Conducted in November 2018 on student ID card slide information at campus life events, n=9,059 full-time, traditional aged undergraduates.
  6. How Can We Help Ozzie Graduate? NSSE-based study conducted in November 2018 on 43% of first years and 46% of seniors, n=2,582.
  7. How do Senior Ospreys Use Their Time? NSSE-based study conducted in March 2018 on 46% of seniors, n=1,498. 
  8. Living Learning Communities: A Lasting Impact* Conducted in April 2019 on 1,854 undergraduates in LLCs from 2012 to 2018. 
  9. National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Administered at the end of the first year in spring 2017 with 1,077 first years responding.
  10. Office of Undergraduate Research Assessment Project* Conducted in November 2018 on 652 undergraduates involved in UGR.
  11. UNF Thomas G. Carpenter Library Data & Student Success Conducted in November 2018 on 2017-18 FTICs, n=2,271.