First-year Student Success

Many students thrive at WWU. Western has a strong record of student success, for example with retention of students into their sophomore year and six-year graduation rates that exceed other regional public universities in the region. While we value this success, our strategic plan calls for us to do better, especially when it comes to Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) students, students who are the first in their families to attend college and others who have been historically shut out of higher education. You can see how we are doing on those goals at the Overall Metrics page.

Our first-year academic programs are one way we help students make the successful transition to college. We know that participating in WWU first-year academic programs can make a strong contribution to students excelling at Western. For example, over the last 10 years, 13% of all first-year students enrolled in a First-year Interest Group (FIG). Based on a number of factors that are often used to predict student retention (high-school grades, financial situation…), these students are more at risk of not making it to their sophomore year than the student population as a whole. Despite this, FIG students are retained at a slightly higher rate than other students, and also get higher grades in their first quarter than students who are not in a FIG.

There is a lot more to thriving as a new college student than what happens in class. For resources that are designed to support student health, wellness, social engagement and residential life, as well as links to advising support, please see the links at the bottom of this and every page.