The College Transition Collaborative

The College Transition Collaborative (CTC) brings together pioneering social psychologists, education researchers and higher education practitioners to create learning environments that produce more equitable higher education outcomes. We believe that all post-secondary students are capable of thriving in college and graduating with the right institutional supports.

Everyone struggles sometimes in college. Our work strives to ensure that, in these moments, all students feel like they can persevere and that their school supports their success.

Our Work

Social Belonging

Social Belonging

Even with identical high school credentials, students from under-represented backgrounds drop out of college at higher rates and earn worse grades than their peers. Research suggests that this disparity is partly attributable to students' concerns about fitting in at college. Importantly, research also suggests that brief, targeted efforts can mitigate these concerns. The CTC is conducting ongoing research to understand how effective such efforts can be for different student groups in varied academic settings. In our current multi-site field trial, we are working with administrators and students at 23 institutions to customize an intervention designed to cultivate a sense of social belonging and to deliver it to over 25,000 first-year students.

Our Impact

Select Results from Recent Trials for Students from Disadvantaged Backgrounds

  • +13% in full-time first year enrollment for college-bound students of an urban charter network
  • +9% in continuous two-year enrollment for students at a large, public broad access university
Full-Time Enrollment (1Y)
Urban Charter Network
Continuous Enrollment (2Y)
Broad Access University

Academic Standing

Academic Standing

Almost all colleges have an academic probation process to notify students who are not making satisfactory progress. While probation is meant to help students return to good standing and keep them on track to graduate, little research exists on how students experience probation and how effective different approaches are. Early findings suggest that many students on probation do not return to good standing or go on to receive their degree. In addition to conducting a descriptive study of probation practices across the country, the CTC is currently working with six school partners and over 10,000 students to learn more about student perspectives and evaluate how targeted revisions to the probation process can improve student outcomes.

Our Impact

Current Project Scope

  • 6 school partners across the U.S.
  • 10K+ participating students over the course of the project
Higher Ed Partners
Across the U.S.
Across 3 Years

In the News

"The Power of Realistic Expectations"

Ian Chipman
Insights by Stanford Business
September 2016

"Conquering the Freshman Fear of Failure"

David L. Kirp
The New York Times
August 2016

"A Small Fix in Mind-Set Can Keep Students in School"

Alison Gopnik
The Wall Street Journal
June 2016

"President Announces Over $240 Million in New STEM Commitments"

Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
March 2015

"Who Gets to Graduate?"

Paul Tough
New York Times
May 2014

CTC Team


Greg Walton, Associate Professor, Stanford University
Mary Murphy, Associate Professor, Indiana University
David Yeager, Assistant Professor, UT Austin
Christine Logel, Associate Professor, Renison College
Rob Urstein, Managing Director, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Natasha Krol, CTC Executive Director


Ali Blodorn, CTC Senior Research Manager
Alice Li, CTC Senior Program Manager
Amy Petermann, CTC Research Coordinator
Peter Fisher, CTC Research Coordinator
Tsotso Ablorh, CTC Research Coordinator


Chris Hulleman, Research Associate Professor, University of Virginia
Christopher Lok, Graduate Student, University of Waterloo
Dustin Thoman, Assistant Professor, San Diego State University
Elise Ozier, Graduate Student, Indiana University
Eric Smith, Graduate Student, Stanford University
Evelyn Carter, Research Scientist, BruinX at UCLA
Gregg Muragishi, Graduate Student, Stanford University
Heidi Williams, Research Assistant, Indiana University
Katie Boucher, Assistant Professor, University of Indianapolis
Katie Kroeper, Graduate Student, Indiana University
Kaitlin Mathias, Lab Manager, University of Waterloo
Lisel Murdock-Perriera, Graduate Student, Stanford University
Madison Gilbertson, Research Assistant, Stanford University
Maithreyi Gopalan, Graduate Student, Indiana University
Melanie Netter, Graduate Student, University of Texas at Austin
Omid Fotuhi, Postdoctoral Scholar, Stanford University
Shahana Ansari, Lab Manager, Indiana University
Shannon Brady, Graduate Student, Stanford University
Stephanie Reeves, Graduate Student, Ohio State University
Susie Chen , Graduate Student, University of Pittsburgh


Carol Dweck, Professor, Stanford University
Geoff Cohen, Professor, Stanford University
Hazel Markus, Professor, Stanford University
Judy Harackiewicz, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Steven Spencer, Professor, University of Waterloo
Dave Paunesku, Executive Director, Stanford University PERTS

CTC Partners

Current and Former School Partners

Albion College Albion College
Allegheny College Allegheny College
Bowling Green Bowling Green State University
California State University, Dominguez Hills CSU Dominguez Hills
California State University, Northridge CSU Northridge
The College of Wooster The College of Wooster
Clemson University Clemson University
Cornell University Cornell University
Dartmouth College Dartmouth College
DePauw University DePauw University
Florida International University Florida International University
Great Lakes College Association Great Lakes College Association
Hope College Hope College
Kalamazoo College Kalamazoo College
Indiana State University Indiana State University
Indiana University Bloomington Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Lewis & Clark College Lewis & Clark College
Loyola University New Orleans Loyola University New Orleans
Mastery Mastery Prep
Michigan State Michigan State University
Ohio Wesleyan University Ohio Wesleyan University
San Diego State University San Diego State University
Southern Oregon University Southern Oregon University
Stanford Stanford University
University of California, Santa Cruz UC Santa Cruz
University of Central Arkansas University of Central Arkansas
University of Illinois Chicago University of Illinois Chicago
University of Memphis University of Memphis
University of Pittsburgh University of Pittsburgh
University of Oregon University of Oregon
UT Austin University of Texas Austin
University of Waterloo University of Waterloo
Wabash College Wabash College
Yale University Yale University
Yes Prep Yes Prep

Partner Organizations and Foundation Support

Mindset Scholars Network Mindset Scholars Network
Raikes Raikes Foundation

Join Us

Contribute to Our Research

We are seeking input from higher ed administrators for our research on academic standing. If you are an administrator involved with your school's academic standing process and are willing to share your perspectives on your school's policies and practices in a brief survey, please click here. Your insight is greatly appreciated.

Email Inquiries

Please expect a response within one week.

Mailing List

Please join our mailing list to receive future updates.

I am interested in receiving updates on: