Kennesaw State University’s first-year experience program is among the best in the country, according to the U.S.News and World Report 2013 “Best Colleges” issue released this week.
“We are proud to be listed, for 10 years running, among the top universities recognized for their excellence in first-year experience programs and their commitment to first-year students,” said W. Ken Harmon, Kennesaw State University's provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff and is another example of Kennesaw State’s growing national prominence.”
Kennesaw State’s first-year program, located in the Department of First-Year Programs in University College, helps students transition from high school to college life, aiding retention rates and building a sense of community on campus.
Designed to give students the skills they need to succeed in life, the program includes special curricular and extra-curricular activities. Students may enroll in one of several thematic first-year seminar courses or in a learning community. Students in learning communities take several classes together. In seminar courses and in learning communities students are encouraged to study together, establish friendships and sharpen their critical thinking skills.
Only 23 schools were chosen from among thousands of colleges and universities for their work with first-year students.
“Recognition for over a decade is a milestone achievement for a program that continues to help so many students achieve academic success,” said Ralph J. Rascati, associate vice president for advising, retention and graduation initiatives and dean of University College. “As the only school in Georgia recognized in this category, we are proud to be among the caliber of institutions such as Stanford, UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of South Carolina — long recognized as originators of the first-year experience concept.”
First-year programs are ranked as part of “Academic Programs to Look For”. This category list schools that are outstanding examples of academic programs believed to lead to student success. Schools are selected based on nominations by college presidents, chief academic officers, deans of students and deans of admissions from more than 1,500 schools.
Also in the U.S. News 2013 rankings, Kennesaw State retained its ranking of 27th among all public universities in the South, and its 61st position among all regional universities in the South. U.S. News defines regional universities as schools that offer a full range of undergraduate programs and some master's programs but few doctoral programs.