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Research indicates that second-year students need additional resources and attention to encourage their persistence at the university. After receiving copious guidance during the first year they are often left to navigate the following year on their own, where in reality, they need a great deal of support to help them continue to matriculate successfully.

As costs rise and more students turn to online education, it is imperative that WMU offers holistic and engaging support systems at all levels of a student’s college career. Both national and institutional research shows that the needs of second-year students are not being met. This is a detriment to the university and a disservice to the student. When WMU offers a second-year experience program, we will not only align with the university’s strategic plan, but will also demonstrate to the student that we are committed to their success beyond the first year. The development of SYE will take a great deal of teamwork and creative resources, but ultimately it will be a gem that draws students to us instead of our competition and will increase persistence and graduation rates.

The objective of the SYE program is to create high-impact practices for second-year students, fostering a sense of university belonging and improving persistence rates from year two to year three.


This poster was presented at the Teaching and Learning Bash on September 17, 2015 at Western Michigan University. NAME was part of the 2014-15 Academic Leadership Academy cohort.