Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Higher Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

Education Leadership & Counseling

First Advisor

Paul Bylsma

Academic Year



The purpose of this project is to address the barriers faced by first-year residential students while making their transition from high school to college. Transitioning to a new environment can be overwhelming, so making sure first-year students feel prepared is an important part of the acclimation process. To make the acclimation period easier, first-year students should make sure they are aware of campus resources, and make sure they have a strong support network. The intervention for this problem is a first-year experience program set at Grand Valley State University called the Becoming a Laker Program. This program is designed to help first-year students get familiar with the physical campus environment, learn about the resources made available through the university, and emphasize the importance of getting involved outside of academics during their college experience. Helping first-year students through their transition from high school to college will increase university retention and help set them up for overall success.