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. Our work aims to ensure that all students feel valued, respected, and like they can excel.
Millions of students begin college each year but ultimately do not graduate.
The College Transition Collaborative wants to change this.
CTC partners with colleges and universities to develop scientifically proven approaches that place the student experience at the center of institutional programs and practices. Although almost every student struggles sometimes in college, students who have been targeted by negative stereotypes throughout their life may experience challenges—such as a low grade on an exam or difficulty making friends—as yet another sign they do not belong or can't succeed. As a result, they may withdraw academically and socially. Our work helps schools better understand how their students experience moments of transition or difficulty, and how psychologically-informed practices can convey to all students they are valued, respected, and can excel.
CTC’s work has helped support greater engagement, retention, and completion for students at diverse colleges and universities across the United States.
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 test it with over 40,000 first-year students.
Selected Results from Recent Trials:
Outcomes for Students of Color and First-Generation Students
- +4 percentage points in first-year, full-time enrollment for students at a large, public university
- +.09 in cumulative first-year GPA for students at a selective private university
Large Public University
Selective Private University
Almost all colleges and universities have processes to identify and support students who are struggling and at risk of dropping out. While probation is meant to help students get back on track, 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.
Preliminary Results from Current Study:
Impact of Revisions to Probation Notification Letter
- Decrease in feelings of shame, stigma, embarassment, and guilt across multiple schools
- Decrease in likelihood to consider dropping out or skip class across multiple schools
Are you interested in using the social-belonging materials at your school?
CTC is partnering with the Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS) to make a standardized version of our social-belonging materials available for schools on a free, easy-to-use, online platform beginning in Summer 2017. To learn more, please visit the link below or contact us.
In the News
The Seattle Times
Insights by Stanford Business
David L. Kirp
The New York Times
The Wall Street Journal
Tara Garcia Mathewson
Stanford Graduate School of Education
Yeager et al.
CTC Press Release
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
New York Times
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
Current and Former School Partners
Partner Organizations and Foundation Support
One of the things that’s really difficult when you’re on the ground in an institution is to do this work and know it’s working. To know what we’re doing has solid research behind it is priceless.- CTC Partner
CTC is looking for a talented, passionate Social Science Research Coordinator to assist in the coordination and implementation of multi-site trials. Please review the job description above and email a resume and cover letter if interested. Please note that candidates must reside in or be willing to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area.
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