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By Betsy O. Barefoot, John N. Gardner, Marc Cutright, Libby V. Morris, Charles C. Schroeder, Stephen W. Schwartz, Michael J. Siegel, Randy L. Swing

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Seven additional campuses of the university offering both two- and four-year degrees are located around the state and are part of the university system. The Columbia campus enrolls more than 25,000 students. Minority students represent approximately 25 percent of the total student population. The campus features various types of residential accommodations, including a residential college, honors housing, housing focused on academic themes and interests, and first-year residence halls. The university offers more than 350 degree programs in sixteen colleges and schools.

This question has no one-size-fits-all answer. Rather, we argue that institutions should determine how they can realize maximum impact through a variety of first-year efforts and whether desired impact can be achieved if all students are not required to participate. We also maintain that a college or university’s design of the first year should take into account both the special needs of students who may be underprepared or at the honors level, and the needs of students in between—those who on many campuses are considered just too average to require special attention.

All raters worked independently and were guaranteed confidentiality in connection with any particular institutional evaluation. Because of our concerns about potential bias in the evaluation process, no evaluator was involved in rating any institution with which he or she had a direct relationship in the present or the past. Each rater was thus asked about conflicts of interest and was instructed to remove himself or herself from the evaluation of any institution for which an interest could be determined or suggested.

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