The College Transition Collaborative
CTC bridges research and practice to help colleges create learning environments that foster equitable student engagement and success. Our work helps schools understand how their students experience moments of transition or difficulty, and how psychologically attuned practices–messages, policies, behaviors, and programs–can convey to all students they are valued, respected, and can excel.
Millions of students begin college but never graduate.
Completion rates are especially low for students from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds, including students of color, low-income students, and first-generation college-goers. Research shows that the disparity in outcomes is partially attributable to how students make meaning of challenges and setbacks, based on many factors including lived experiences of inequity, the visible under-representation of others like them, and the messages sent by their environment.
CTC bridges research and practice to help more students reach their fullest potential.
How We Work
We select areas of research based on school and student needs, ground our work in scientific theory, and rigorously assess everything we create across diverse contexts.
We partner with researchers, administrators, educators, and practitioners across the higher education community to ensure the greatest potential for positive student impact.
We create evidence-based, cost-effective, and user-friendly tools and resources supporting practitioners to implement more psychologically attuned practices across the college journey.
Where We Focus
Sample Moments of Psychological Uncertainty Throughout College
Do admissions messages convey to students that diverse students are valued on campus and that students can grow to belong in the college community and succeed?
Transition Into College
Do welcome messages communicate that diverse kinds of students belong? Do messages around placement tests lead students to feel like they can succeed?
How do gateway courses impact students' feelings of belonging or academic potential?
How do psychological factors during college influence student success, persistence and degree completion?
How can schools help to foster positive intergroup relationships? How can schools foster the development of more diverse social networks?
Points of Difficulty
Do communications about remedial coursework lead students to feel "dumb"? Do communications about academic setbacks communicate that faculty and the college care about their success and believe they can improve? Do communications about discipline infractions lead students feel like they don’t belong in college or can’t succeed?
Transition Out of College
Do messages from career centers help students identify normal challenges in navigating the job market post college and finding a career path? Do messages about financial aid in and after college communicate warmth and support to low-income students?
students reached by CTC-designed programs and practices
colleges and universities implementing CTC-designed programs and practices
up to 40%
reduction in achievement gap
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.
- Administrator at CTC Partner School
I know that maybe there will be rough patches in my transition to college life, but like with all newly introduced things, I will adjust and become comfortable. I'll learn from my mistakes and focus on the positive opportunities and experiences college life brings...I am confident I will eventually feel at home like many of the other college students and alumni before me.
- Student Response from CTC Program
CTC works with partner organizations to make tools, interventions, and programs widely available for colleges and universities. Click here for a summary of available resources, including student programs, toolkits for administrators, knowledge-sharing briefs, and scientific publications.
CTC partners with researchers, colleges and universities, and aligned organizations to design, test, and scale tools and interventions. If you are interested in working with the CTC on a future project, we encourage you to fill out our interest form to receive updates on upcoming opportunities, or send us an email.
Are you passionate about advancing educational equity, excited about bridging the gap between research and practice, and energized by the prospect of joining a dynamic, early stage organization? Click here to learn more about what it's like to work at the CTC and view open positions.
Sign Up for Updates
To receive updates on the CTC's work, including research findings, new partnership opportunities, and free administrator tools, please fill out the interest form below. We'll send periodic newsletters and targeted updates based on your interests. Your information will not be shared outside the CTC.