Your First College Year (YFCY) Survey

Registration for the 2016 YFCY survey is now open!
Administer anytime between March 1, 2016 through June 10, 2016

Register Now

HERI has been offering the Your First College Year (YFCY) survey since 2000. YFCY is the first national survey designed specifically to assess the academic and personal development of students over the first year of college.

Developed through a collaboration between HERI and the Policy Center on the First Year of College at Brevard College, YFCY enables institutions to identify features of the first year that encourage student learning, involvement, satisfaction, retention and success, thereby enhancing first-year programs and retention strategies at campuses across the country.

About the Your First College Year Survey

Your First College Year is a survey designed to provide higher education practitioners and researchers with comprehensive information on the academic and personal development of first-year college students. As such, YFCY collects information on a wide range of cognitive and affective measures, providing comprehensive institutional and comparative data for analyses of persistence, adjustment, and other first-year outcomes. Further, YFCY was designed as a follow-up survey to the annual CIRP Freshman Survey and allows for longitudinal research on the first year of college. However, YFCY also may be used as a stand-alone instrument.

Specifically colleges use the YFCY to:

Evaluate student adjustment to college
YFCY includes several measures of adjustment during the first year of college, such as students' level of satisfaction with various aspects of campus life, institutional facilities, and student services; personal challenges that they face during their transition from high school to college; and feelings of personal success at the end of the first year.
Assess students' academic experiences and achievement
The survey collects information on a number of academic experiences of first-year students, including classroom activities, academic engagement and disengagement, and interaction with faculty. Further, YFCY asks students to rate their overall academic capabilities as well as skills in specific intellectual areas and to report their first-year GPA.
Collect information about extracurricular experiences
YFCY collects information on all aspects of student life including social commitments, study habits, volunteer and service work, student employment, residential life experiences, involvement in campus organizations, religious practices, and family obligations. Survey items provide information on both the quantity and quality of these experiences.
Study specific first-year programs
Several questions on YFCY assess students' experiences with various campus programs such as orientation, honors courses, first-year seminars, remedial coursework, service learning opportunities, academic advising, and learning communities as well as interaction with campus advisors, counselors, and other support personnel.
Examine student change
As a follow-up instrument, YFCY is designed to help institutions assess how their students have changed since entering college. When combined with CIRP Freshman Survey data, the YFCY serves as a longitudinal measure of students' cognitive and affective growth during the first year.

Schools participating in the YFCY receive an institutional profile, which includes your institutional results broken out by sex, full and part-time status, comparisons with other similar institutions, significance testing, effect sizes, CIRP Constructs and Theme reports, and a data file of your student responses. Schools using the YFCY as a post-test to the CIRP Freshman Survey will also receive a Longitudinal Profile, which can be used to assess growth and change over the first year of college.

Administering the YFCY Survey Administered between March 1, 2016 and June 10, 2016

The YFCY is conducted from March-June to facilitate surveying freshmen at the end of their first college year. The YFCY is available as a paper or as an online survey.

The Paper Survey
The paper survey can be administered in the classroom, a group setting or as a mail-out survey. The most successful administration of the YFCY is in large group settings such as class meetings or first-year advising sessions. You set the delivery date and the number of questionnaires needed.
The Web Survey
The online survey can be administered either with your campus managing the email notification process, or for ease of use, you can elect to have HERI manage the email notifications to students. Our web portal allows you to schedule email notification and reminder dates, customize, "welcome" and "thank you" pages, customize email notifications, and upload your additional questions. Throughout the administration, you can monitor your response rates in real time. Your survey data updates in real time, so you can download your preliminary data file at any point to analyze early responses.
Reporting Samples
View Full Screen Sample Report Page
View Sample PowerPoint Slide

The Survey Instrument
Important Forms and Documentation
Survey Fees
Standard Costs

Participation Fee



Processing Fee


$3.25 per survey processed

Optional Costs

Customized Welcome and Thank You Pages



Additional questions for web administration - 20 closed-ended and/or 5 open-ended



Additional questions for paper administration - 20 closed-ended



HERI-managed email distribution to students



School-managed distribution (bulk codes)

Billing Policy

Upon registration, institutions are sent one bill for the participation fee. After each institution completes their survey administration and returns the data for processing, the per-survey processing fees are calculated and a second bill is sent to each institution for their respective processing charges. Institutions are also billed separately for any Data Service Orders they may place, and these bills are sent out after the completion and fulfillment of each Data Service Order.

Withdrawal Policy
For Web Administrations
You may cancel without penalty up to the time that the unique URL(s) have been sent to your institution, or distributed per your institution's direction. If the URL(s) have already been sent to your institution or distributed via HERI's email distribution service to your intended survey participants, you will be charged a withdrawal fee of $100. In addition, if HERI has provided any customized services at your request (e.g., incorporated on-line additional questions, etc), you will also be responsible for the full cost of these services.

For Paper Administrations
You may cancel without penalty up to the time that the questionnaires have been sent to your institution. If questionnaires have already been sent to your institution, you will be charged the full participation fee unless you return all of the questionnaires intact to our processing center. Once the unused questionnaires have been received and verified at our processing center, the participation fee will be waived and a withdrawal fee of $100 will be assessed.