Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Higher Education

First Advisor

Ryan Evely Gildersleeve, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Judy Marquez Kiyama, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jessica Alzen, Ph.D.


Orientation, New student orientation, Freshman orientation, Retention, Transition, Student preparedness, Academic preparedness, Social preparedness, Program evaluation, Utilization-focused evaluation


Successfully transitioning into postsecondary education can be challenging for new college students, particularly for students who are academically or socially underprepared for college. Transition programs can assist students with this process, thus increasing the likelihood of student retention. The author of this paper conducted a Utilization-Focused evaluation of the Student Orientation and Registration (SOAR) program at the Steamboat Springs campus of Colorado Mountain College with the intention of improving the program. The study examined the program through the lens of students’ perceptions of their academic and social preparation for their first semester of college after attending the SOAR program.

The major findings of this evaluation fell into four broader categories of combined preparedness, academic preparedness, social preparedness, and program enhancements. Findings included: retention among SOAR participants was higher than non-SOAR participants, academic planning assisted students in feeling academically prepared, interaction with people and place allowed students to feel socially prepared, students felt overloaded with information, and student experiences during SOAR led to opportunities for program improvement. Recommendations were made to improve the SOAR program to better prepare students for their first semester of college.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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