Dani Magasano

Faculty Advisor

Angela Vaughan

Faculty Advisor

Alexis Hauck

Document Type


Publication Date



Undergraduate students who engage in first-year experience courses are found to have higher GPA, retention rates, and graduation rates. This study shares the findings of program evaluation applied research within the Honors Program at the University of Northern Colorado and the current first-year experience’s impact on program retention and satisfaction rates. The program currently offers two contrasting first-year experience courses that offer different curriculum and philosophy. The result is varying first-year experiences for Honors students which can reflect students’ perceptions and experience within the program. After compiling feedback on both courses through individual interviews, course evaluations, and Honors Program withdraw survey data, changes will be proposed to both first-year seminar courses for the Fall 2020. As the Honors Program is moving to a more holistic view, modifying the current first-year experience to mirror that mission will help students be more supported while still getting the connection to the Honors Program that they need. Although this study looks specifically at the Honors Program at the University of Northern Colorado, its model can be adapted to other programs to help increase Honors Program retention rates and satisfaction levels.


This presentation is a finalist for the Undergraduate Developing Scholars Research Excellence Award.